Once when I was in Bangalore and I was visiting my grandmother, she gave me a bowl of shrikhand that she had lovingly made with nutmeg and cardamom and charoli seeds. I cannot make Shrikhand and not think of her, more so now since she passed on in december.
Ajji was a phenomenal cook and whoever ate her food had lingering memories of the taste for days and years on end. I still feel a tug in my heart to refer to her in the past tense and it only emphasises the ephemeral nature of life. I was fortunate to learn the art of cooking from ajji and she passed on the wisdom and the tips and tricks that were passed on to her and I feel like Iâ€™m in possession of a great treasure trove of the fine art of cooking that emanated from her kitchen.
Ajji often spoke of chakka (yogurt with all its water drained off) that was brought by villagers who had dairy farms and sold from door to door in her childhood. This was then used to make delicious shrikhand.
As the mango season has come to an end, I made aamrakhand with the last alphonsos of the season. Although the aromatic fragrance of the alphonso mango works best for aamrakhand, you could use any variety of mango to make this delicacy.
I find that the aamrakhand sold in stores is overtly sweet and the best part of making this at home is that you have the control over how much sugar you can add. I have seen so many recipes for shrikhand that use varying quantities of sugar right from 1:1 to 1: 3/4 ratio of yogurt and sugar. Adding the right amount of sugar is the trick to making shrikhand. If the sugar is more then the extreme sweetness masks the flavour of this divine delicacy and if very less quantity of sugar is used, the tartness of the yogurt is not balanced with the right amount of sweet taste.
Aamrakhand is one of the most wonderful desserts to emerge from Indian kitchens and it is something that has to be experienced in oneâ€™s lifetime. If you have access to any kind of ripe mangoes, you will love making this. And don't forget to bookmark this recipe to make it when the mangoes come calling again!
P.S- I get many queries about combining mango and yogurt. Mango and yogurt has been consumed for hundreds of years and if the mango is sweet it is not viruddha ahaara when combined with yogurt. However, if the kapha dosha is aggravated, then it is best to avoid yogurt in all its forms until the dosha is in balance again. Do note that the ideal time to have yogurt is in the daytime and it is best consumed at noon when the digestive fire or agni is the strongest.
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Mango Shrikhand | Aamrakhand Recipe
800 gm (4 cups) thick yogurt
1 cup (220 gm) granulated sugar*
4 cardamom pods
a few saffron strands
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
Pistachios for garnishing (optional)
Dried rose petals for garnishing (optional)
Place the yogurt in a muslin cloth or a cheesecloth over a strainer with a bowl or any utensil to collect the whey or water and allow the excess water to drain overnight or for atleast 4 to 5 hours.
Blend the sugar with the cardamom pods to a fine powder.
In a bowl mix in the sugar powder with the thick drained yogurt and mix well with a whisk until there are no lumps.
Blend the mango to a smooth puree and mix it into the thick yogurt. Whisk it nicely until there are no lumps.
Serve at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with pistachios and dried rose petals to make it more exotic.
- I usually use ½ to 3/4th cup of powdered sugar for 1 cup of thickened yogurt for the shrikhand.
- If you have powdered sugar, you can use it instead of grinding granulated sugar.
- If using powdered sugar, powder the cardamom seeds separately with a mortar and pestle.
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