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Archive for June 18th, 2009

I was delighted to hear about Shrikhand, a delicious and very simple Indian dessert, in a recent repeated episode of the Hairy Bikers Ride Again, a television cookery series I missed first time around. Shrikand is one of the main desserts of Gujerati cuisine. I always find these programmes worth watching, being part travelogue and part food, all delivered with the bikers distinctive and quirky brand of humour.  In this particular programme The Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Simon King, were exploring South-East India: the Cardamom Hills and the state of Kerala. 

The version demonstrated on the programme used Pineapple and Pomegranite seeds but when I searched for the Hairy Bikers recipe online the BBC food website provided a strawberry version instead.  I have read about the complementary flavours of strawberry and Balsamic vinegar, which might at first seem rather strange, but this is my first time of trying it and I was pleasantly surprised at the non-vinegary taste.  The Balsamic just ‘sits’ there in the background, but doesn’t dominate.  I have increased some of the quantities in the recipe as the original was only just enough for three people, whilst halving the sugar and Balsamic vinegar in which the strawberries are marinaded. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices and with the saffron, when mixed with the yoghurt, makes a delicate and fragrant topping: simplicity itself.  It can be mixed in seconds, the longest task being the removing and crushing of the cardamom seeds.  I occasionally cook Indian style food for dinner guests and it is often difficult to know what to serve for dessert.  Apart from Kulfi Ice Cream and similar desserts, or a Lassi to drink, a fresh fruit salad is my usual choice. I can certainly see this Shrikhand, or a variation, making a welcome appearance at one of those meals.  I have renamed the dish Shrikhand with Strawberries as the creamy mixture is used as a topping for the fruit and could be transferred to any other fruit of your choice.  I have done some research and have found some versions where the fruit is chopped finer before being added to the Shrikhand, which would also colour it more.  I have also seen mention online of Shrikhand mixed with nuts, in the case of  Food with a Pinch of Love a combination of walnuts, cashews and pistachios, which sounds interesting – some recipes use almonds. There are often recommendations that the yoghurt should be strained, which I did not do, but would produce a thicker version. Here are some alternative recipes: Anjam Anand, BBC Food and The Times Online, plus information from Wikipedia.

100_4296 Strawberry Shrikhand

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Shrikhand with Strawberries
(Serves 4)

For the Strawberries
350g/12ozs Strawberries
1tbsp caster sugar (2tbsp if you have a very sweet tooth!)
1tbsp Balsamic vinegar

For the Shrikhand
350ml/12ozs Greek-style yoghurt (low fat if you can get it)
4-6 cardamom pods (crack open, remove and crush seeds)
pinch of saffron, soaked in 1tbsp boiling water
3 tbsp fine caster sugar
25g/1oz flaked almonds, toasted

1.  An hour before serving: Quarter the strawberries and place in a glass bowl.  Mix in the sugar and Balsamic vinegar, cover and leave to marinade, stirring occasionally.  Reserve a piece of strawberry for each portion as a garnish, if you wish.

2. Toast the almonds under the grill, watching carefully as they burn quickly.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Make the Shrikhand topping by thoroughly mixing the yoghurt, sugar, crushed cardamom seeds and saffron with its soaking water together in a bowl.

4.  Place the fruit and sugar/Balsamic syrup in glasses or dishes, spoon over the Shrikhand topping. Decorate with a piece of strawberry and some toasted flaked almonds.

Variations:
Pineapple & Pomegranite seeds (as in the original programme)
Apricot & Nectarine
Raspberry & Nectarine

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