April 14, 2007

Shrikhand remix

So about a month ago I stumbled on a recipe for shrikhand (a strained yogurt dish) while browsing through blogs. Based on the picture and the description I decided to try it out and, surprisingly, I had all the ingredients on hand. I found this particular treat on Becks and Posh, a blog I have been reading since I began reading food blogs.

The result matched the beautiful picture from the blog, but I have to admit that I was underwhelmed. I found that the strong, distinct flavors of the cardamom, saffron, and rosewater did not work for me, but I thought that with a light hand and some additional sweetness that I could come up with something I liked. Lately, I've been experimenting with my trusty KitchenAid ice cream maker and decided to try a frozen yogurt version.

Then life intervened and warm weather distracted me by calling my attention to my shiny, new grill. That is until I realized that my sister was coming to visit this weekend for a wedding. I thought that she might like this, so I pulled the recipe back out and decided how I was going to tweak it.

I went with a thick, Greek-style yogurt for the base, and decided that I did not need to drain it because I thought the texture would be just about right. I thought that my sweetener should bring more to the table than just sweetness, so local honey jumped to mind. I started with just 1/2 a cup for the four cups of yogurt, but when I added another 1/4 cup it balanced the tanginess of the yogurt perfectly. I used about the same amount of the other flavorings as the original recipe called for with only one cup of yogurt, but since my recipe called for four cups the flavor was much more subtle. If you really like any of the flavors (cardamom, rosewater, or saffron) you may want to double or triple your preferred spice (or all of them).

The shrikhand I made first was a beautiful deep yellow, but this is just off white. I added roughly chopped pistachios, which added flecks of bright green and vibrant scarlet. My sister and I both really enjoyed this warm weather treat (so did several of her friends).

Another funny thing has happened since I started planning this post. Starting last month, I began participating in Sugar High Fridays. Last month I prepared a raw cocoa nib panna cotta. I went to Is My Blog Burning to see what the next SHF theme would be and low and behold, Monisha of Coconut Chutney was hosting Sugar High Friday #30 - Flower Power. The rules were simple, use flowers or floral extracts to create something sweet and link back to the posting. What great fortune - I had just created a dessert that used a part of a flower (saffron) and a floral extract (rose water), so now my post had two purposes, preserve a recipe that I think turned out really well, and participate in a fun blogging event. I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with!

Shrikhand Frozen Yogurt

Makes just over 1 quart

4 cups thick, creamy yogurt (I used a Greek-style yogurt)
3/4 cup honey (local if you've got it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon saffron thread
1 Tablespoon rosewater
1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Place yogurt and honey in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a mortar and pestle grind the saffron threads into a powder. Add cardamom and using the pestle grind together with the saffron powder. Add the rosewater and work with the pestle until the powders are distributed evenly in the liquid.

Pour this liquid into the yogurt and stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours to ensure that it is completely chilled.

Following your ice cream maker's instructions churn the yogurt until well frozen and then add the chopped pistachios. Transfer into a container and place in your freezer to ripen for about 4 hours and then serve. If freezing longer, transfer the yogurt to the refrigerator about an hour before serving to soften.