Shrikhand (Shree-kund) Indian Dessert
The best part of not living close to home is getting the chance to miss and appreciate your family when you do come home. And a close second is getting to eat all my favorite childhood meals that I know my mom will make for me since I've returned. I'm so lucky to have a mom who immediately asks "what would you like me to make?" as soon as I get home :D
I learned something over this last trip with my family that surprised me. I do actually like spending time with them as people! Before, coming home meant I would see them but I would also spend a lot of time visiting old friends and hitting up all my nostalgic ATL spots. On this particular trip, I didn't feel like going out as much without them.
Being ten years younger than my sister and often feeling like the little kid who no one really took seriously, I used to tune out a lot of the serious conversations and do the bare minimum of spending time with the family.
Now, I finally feel like I'm at an age where I can talk to them more as peers and it feels like we are forging a new kind of bond as adults. On some level, I know I'll always be a kid to them, but I'm glad that I can hold my own much better now and that we are on more even ground. It's wonderful to be able to cook them some meals that I've learned on my own instead of just being fed the entire time... Although don't get me wrong, sometimes you just need that, too.
Recently, a few friends lamented to me that they used to think their moms were good cooks until they grew up and ate out at authentic restaurants--then they realized it was hard to go back to eating what their moms made. I guess I've been lucky because I've liked nearly everything my mom has made. Of course, I can't quite shake the memory of the most disgustingly overcooked carrot dish she tried to force me to finish when I was five, but other than that, it's all been pretty great.
Aside from my mother, my sister is also a phenomenal cook. She doesn't ever follow directions, yet every single thing she has improvised turns out so damn delicious, I always end up asking for a recipe. I have no idea how she does it. No one else in my family has that magic touch my sister possesses, but my mother and grandmother do have a few recipes that are my absolute favorites.
My mother had kind of stopped making so much Indian food over the years, but on this particular trip there were a few instances where she made some of her best dishes.
This shrikhand was one of them.
Shrikhand is an Indian yogurt dessert that I genuinely forgot about for several years. We hardly ever eat Indian food in restaurants and if we do go for dessert, it's often gulab jamun. But I used to love to eat shrikhand as a kid, especially with some savory puris.
It's tangy but not overly so, and it's got a lovely hint of saffron and cardamom.
Some people like to add fruits or nuts to it, but I prefer it pure. I actually avoided eating it at restaurants because inevitably I'd find my mortal enemy in there--the raisin *shudder*.
I also used to find the taste a bit cloying after a while so I could never eat too much. This particular recipe, though, completely stole my heart.
Joe loved the taste of this so much that he asked me to make some for his family. I served it to them with some butter wafer cookies from Trader Joe's and they pretty much walloped the whole thing!
It's sort of similar to Greek yogurt but not really. And it's so, so easy to make at home. I haven't enjoyed yogurt like this in a long, long time so I pressed my mom for the recipe and of course, she shared it with me so I could share it with you.
1 can plain yogurt 32 ounces (preferably whole-milk)
1 can sour cream 16 oz
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp freshly crushed cardamom
1/2 tsp saffron mixed with 1 tsp milk
Mix the yogurt and the sour cream together in a large bowl.
Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth and press out as much liquid as you can.
Use a cord or rope or any kind of tie to tie the cheesecloth to your faucet and let it hang there for 3-4 hours, until more of the moisture drips off.
Once it's no longer dripping, empty the cream from the cheesecloth into a bowl.
Use a blender to beat in the sugar until the sugar dissolves and it doesn't taste grainy.
Add in the cardamom and the saffron in milk.
Blend together and add more sugar, cardamom, or saffron according to your own taste.
Serve plain or with sweet or savory crunchy things, as well as fruits or nuts.