Recipe: Making vegan Shrikhand for the first time
What is Shrikhand?
Some describe it as a dessert which transforms ordinary yoghurt into a delicacy. Others think of it as anything from a standard feature of Sunday meals, part of a festive menu, as well as faraal (fasting) food.
Where does Shrikhand come from?
Shrikhand can be found in the western Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is often served during Maharashtrian and Gujarati weddings. So in this case, it's viewed as a 'rich' dessert.
What's the occasion? Why am I making Shrikhand?
I made Shrikhand once and that was in my non-vegan days. Since then, I've not really thought about it, until recently!
It all came about because we arranged for some family to come over. The intention behind the get together is for a few families to chill together, enjoy some food, have some classic songs playing in the background, catch up and have a laugh. We usually centre meetups around a meal, but this time we thought we'd avoid the faff of a full meal and just have some savoury snacks, drinks and dessert.
The thing is, when I thought of making it, I realised I didn't have a tried and tested, so I reached out to a few friends and ended up with three recipes. One of them was quite complex as it involved making the yoghurt from three different sources. The other was simple but it didn't include measurements, as the person who shared it simply pours, tastes and amends. The final recipe seemed the easiest and although it was brief in terms of detail, I'd asked the source a few questions to clarify what I needed to know.
Tips for those who are making vegan Shrikhand for the first time
The processes that took the longest involved waiting! The first part, (draining the yoghurt), involved waiting for 2 hours. The other long waiting period was letting it sit in the fridge for 2 days prior to serving it. I definitely wouldn't recommend making it within a few hours of it being served, because it's not enough time for the flavours to come through.
For those who know Shrikhand is meant to be white, and aren't OK with food being a 'different' colour to how it is traditionally, they should use white (vegan) sugar.
Lastly, when I tasted the Shrikhand early on, I thought it was sickly sweet and I was worried about how to remedy that. However, as the flavours fused together, the sweetness reduced and the cardamom and saffron got stronger. This made it perfect!
The Shrikhand was absolutely delicious and I'd definitely make it again.
This recipe serves enough to fill 20 ramekins
Ingredients for the vegan Shrikhand
- 2000g of unflavoured soya yoghurt - I used Tesco Free From Soya Yoghurt
- 500g of sugar
- ground cardamom to taste - I used 2 heaped teaspoons of cardamom which was already ground. However, freshly ground cardamom tastes stronger so you would need less
- a tablespoon of saffron
- a handful of sliced almonds - I didn't use any this time
- a handful of ground pistachios
How to make vegan Shrikhand
- Get a large bath towel and fold it over thrice
- Fold a large muslin cloth in half and put it on the towel
- Use a tablespoon to spread the soya yoghurt onto the muslin cloth so it's flat - read the next point before doing this
- Pull the sides of the muslin cloth over to cover the yoghurt
- Let it sit for 2 hours
- Pull the cloth up and if the yoghurt remains stuck to the cloth, fold it over and then pull the cloth back
- Repeat step 6 until you're easily able to remove the drained yoghurt from the cloth
- Put the drained yoghurt straight into a mixing bowl
- Add the sugar and keep stirring until it has combined
- Add the ground cardamom
- Lightly roast the saffron for 30 seconds or less, as it burns easily
- Add the saffron to the bowl and mix again
- Cover the mixture and put it in the fridge - I made it 2 days early to enable the flavours to infuse, allowing for a deeper flavour
- When you're ready to serve it, give it a good mix so that colour from the saffron is even throughout the Shrikhand
- Taste it to see if you need to add more sugar or cardamom
- Put some Shrikhand in a small bowl/ramekin and garnish with the almonds and pistachios
Recipe courtesy of Nishma of Shambhus Vegan Catering