Recipe: Saffron and Cardamon Yoghurt (Shrikhand)

I originally encountered this recipe in a pack from the glorious (and sadly, now on hold) Curry Delights startup.  It is a beautiful, pale-yellow-tinted, cooling yoghurt dessert flavoured with cardamom and the honey-like scent of saffron, and I absolutely loved it – so much that I made it two nights running, in fact. 

Ambika and Vikram’s version of this dish was super-easy and very quick, but relied on a couple of products that I was unable to source in Australia, so once I ran out (i.e., about four days after first encountering the recipe), I was out of luck.  I did have recipes for Shrikhand in other books, but none of them looked quite right (though I *highly* approve of the one that suggests adding popping candy, and I will be doing this at the first opportunity), and most of them, being more traditional, required a longer preparation time, as the recipes relied on drained yoghurt.

But I was really craving those lovely, cooling flavours again this week, so I decided that it was time to see if I could cross the various recipes, modified slightly to my tastes, and make a version that was feasible here.

Short version?  I did, and it was glorious, and I’m writing it up right now, so that I don’t forget the quantities…

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saffron strands – a big pinch, crumbled between your fingers into a little bowl
250 g light cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar (slightly heaped, to be honest)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder, also heaped
350 g low fat Greek Yoghurt (nothing wrong with full fat, but the low fat Black Swan one is nicer than the full fat anyway, and frankly, this dessert does not need to be any richer than it is)
200g raspberries, to serve.  Trust me, you want something fresh and acidic.

Now what will you do with it?

Pour about 1 1/2 tbsp of boiling water into the little bowl with your saffron and leave to infuse.

Beat the light cream cheese alone until it is smooth, then beat in the icing sugar and cardamom.  When the mixture is smooth again, stir in the yoghurt.  Finally, beat in the saffron and its water, which will turn the mixture an incredibly beautiful pale yellow.

Spoon into four bowls, and top with raspberries.

Refrigerate until you are ready to eat.

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Variations

This recipe is obviously not vegan or dairy-free, but is vegetarian, egg-free and nut-free, and also low in fructose (though obviously not in lactose).  It would probably work rather nicely with coconut yoghurt, which you might use alone, drained to make it more solid, or mix with Tofutti cream cheese or the like. I think the flavours would combine quite well.

In terms of flavour variations, really this is divine as it is, but I totally second the recommendation of popping candy from Anjun’s Easy Indian.  I have no idea what it would be like, but basically, I will always vote for popping candy if it is on the ballot.  I think it would be nice with toasted pistachios or almonds on top (the original recipe used charoli nuts, something else I couldn’t find locally), and the internet tells me it’s great with mango.

Actually, it would make a decadent and gorgeous pavlova filling, now I think of it.  I might try that sometime soon… but it is really glorious as it stands. And charmingly fast to make.

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