My previous post didn’t quite make the cut for Express Indian: 6-ingredients-or-under because I had one ingredient too many and there were some protests that I was breaking my own rules. Little do you know that we Delhi-ites are like that only; we know rules are made so that they may be broken! Nor are we about to turn over a new leaf just because the Commonwealth Games are round the bend and the honourable Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambram feels we ought to mend our ways. Some things take time.
Meanwhile, here is another Express recipe, this time from TH’s home state of Maharashtra: second to none, the Shrikhand, a creamy dessert that comes together in no time and involves no cooking. But do plan ahead, more so if you are planning to make the chukka (hung curd) at home. Shrikhand tastes best if you allow 12-24 hours for the delicate flavours to meld. Some like shrikhand to be really smooth and achieve this by passing the mix through a sieve. In our house we like some texture to shrikhand and skip this step. My mother-in-law used to add a few spoonfuls of malai (clotted cream) to the chukka. Every now and then there would be a tiny nugget of the soured malai that gave the shrikhand an additional richness and texture. But gone are those days of buying fresh water-buffalo milk every morning (long live low-fat lifestyles), skimming the malai off, adding some yoghurt for culture, and collecting it over the next week or two to make butter and ghee. The buttermilk from churning this cultured clotted cream made the best kadhi. Undoubtedly. Sigh.
Getting back to shrikhand. These days packaged shrikhand comes in many flavours; amrakhand which has the pulp of alphonso mangoes mixed in, is one very popular flavour. Some like to add berries. The one that we like is the the homemade kind with saffron as the primary flavour. Yes, the classic kind. I know, I am predictable. And ingredients – exactly six, including salt! Does it make the cut, Manisha?
Should serve 3-4
2l yoghurt made from 3% or full cream milk
1/3 C sugar (or to taste)
a generous pinch saffron strands
a generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t salt (or to taste) (not optional!)
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and chopped (chironji is the traditional nut)
Hang yoghurt overnight in muslin (how to). You should have about 2 cups of chukka. Remove it into a mixing bowl. Crush half of the saffron. Or you can grind it using a teaspoon of milk. Add to the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Using a metal spoon mix everything vigorously. Grate some nutmeg over it all; just a hint – be bashful. Add remaining strands of saffron. Mix again. Refrigerate 12-24 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Give a good mix – the saffron strands will bleed their gorgeous colour into the shrikhand. Taste for sweetness. Adjust salt. Spoon into small bowls; a little goes a long way.
That brings up the tail for this year’s Party. The Party got off to a slow start; there were some who had to be roused from their slumber, almost like waking up Kumbhakarana. The delay had the party coincide with the festive season of Navratri, Dussehra, and Durga Puja, which all culminated on Vijay Dashmi (day before) yesterday. All-night enactment of the Ramayana during the ten days of Dussehra is still a popular neighbourhood event much enjoyed all over North Indian.
I am so glad you could join in this celebration of the triumph of good over evil. The Party menu (in the order of appearance):
Lisa (Beyond Russia) – Ayurvedic Avocado Salad
Preeti (Relishing Recipes) – Chocolate Peda
Pavani (Simple Food Bowl) – Andhra style Spinach Soya-granules Fry, Almond Mysore Pak
Kriyatv (Melting Pot) – Fish Fry (Konkani?)
Xiaolu (6Bittersweet) – Potato Methi (Aloo Methi) (Punjab/UP)
Madhuli (My Food Court) – spicy Masala Puri Chaat (Bombay?)
The Cooker – Corn Pulao (Maharashtra style) and an economy of instructions
Sapna (a reader contribution!) – Jhatpat Arbi (Punjab/UP)
Archana (another reader!) – Paneer Jalfrezi (Colonial)
SE (Denufood) – Hirvi Kobi Tava bhaji, and Tomato Halwa (Maharashtra)
Pel (Elaichi Etcetera) – Crab-Apple Pickles! (Konkani style)
Manisha (Indian Food Rocks) – not quite Paan, even better! Jeera Goli (Maharashtra)
Musical (Musical’s Kitchen) – Shimla Mirch Paneer (Punjabi to the core!)
Yours Truly – Palak Panir (Punjab), if I may be permitted…if not, then Shrikhand (above) (Maharashtra)
Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen) – Thengai Barfi (Cardamom flavoured Coconut Squares) (from, where else but, the coconut state – Kerala!)
Sra (When My Soup Came Alive) – Prawns and Greens (Andhra)
Shwetha (Cookie Shutter) – Fried Chicken (Andhra?)
Sig (Live to Eat) – Chicken Fry (Chettinad!) – much as she resisted, we got quite the heirloom recipe from her!
ISG (Daily Musing) – Beetroot Raita (bonus: Tomato Rice!) (Kongu Tamilian)
Sandeepa (Bong Mom’s Cookbook) – Narkel Naru (tender coconut ladoos from Bengal)
Lavanya (Pieces of paper, squiggly lines) – the evergreen Avial (Kerala)
and just in, Nirmala (Amma’s special) – delicately flavoured Rose milk payasam (Kerala wins!)