This is a special post for a dear friend and co-worker of mine - John and his wife Sharon. They had visited us once for dinner and I had served Mango Lassi and home made yogurt (dahi) as a part of the meal. They liked it and John has asked me the recipe for making yogurt at home along with step by step instructions.
John, this is for the both of you. Do share with Sharon. I remember Sharon talking about how she would like to add sugar to yogurt and she did try it and loved it - so I added another recipe below for what we call "Shrikand" - its essentially yogurt with sugar and different flavorings. Its one of my favorites!
I've explained the process in pictures - hope it's easy for you to follow.
Here's my 2.8 lit corningware bowl. Fill the bowl to the rim with milk. I normally use reduced fat 1% milk at home - the yogurt still comes out good. But, if you want thicker and creamier yogurt, go with whole milk.
Move the bowl carefully to the microwave. For this amount, I heat up the milk for 18 minutes. If you are making smaller batches, heat up in intervals of 5 mins. You have to heat the milk until its almost boiling. You will start seeing little bubbles forming on the top layer - that means its done and you can stop the heating.
Once the milk is heated, move it out very carefully - it will be very hot, you could wait a few mins before taking it out of the microwave. Take it out and place it on the counter for about 20 mins or until the milk cools down a little.
You will see these thin layers of cream forming on top of the milk. Just mix it in along with the milk.
When the milk is still warm (and not hot), take about 2-3 spoonfuls of yogurt and mix along with the warm milk.
Now move the whole bowl to a cool oven (during winters, you could pre heat the oven and then switch it off). Place inside, close the oven and turn the oven lights on. The light provides consistent warmth for the bacteria in the yogurt to develop and spread - the probiotics - the good stuff!
Let this sit for about 5 hrs. Check to see if the yogurt has set - if its still a little milky, let it sit for some more time. The longer you let it sit, the sourer it gets. So, try to take it while its freshly set. When the yogurt is set, move it to the refrigerator. You could store this in the fridge for about 3-4 days. ( I mean, if it lasts!)
Can you see how the yogurt is now set? The water you see around is just the whey from the curds ( the one that Little Miss Muffet ate while she was sat on a tuffet!)
And that's how John you could make yogurt at home! Do try it and let me know if this works good for you.
And now moving on to the part where I get sinful...and evil..and of course sweet! Let's make Shrikand! Here's what Wiki has to say about Shrikand - and I agree with them especially on this part - "Shrikhand's recipe is so versatile that it can practically take any taste that an imaginative person can create."
I'm however going to stick to just 2 versions of Shrikand. The first one is a Kesar (Saffron ) version and the second one is a Strawberry Shrikand. I love the fresh strawberries I pick up at my farmers market - had to use them in this!
You'll need a cheesecloth or muslin cloth for this next step. Place about 2 cups of yogurt in the center of a cheesecloth.
Now hang this from the top of your faucet or any other place where this could be hung. Do keep a container a the bottom to collect the mess if you're not hanging this over the sink. Let this be hung for about 5 hrs. This is to remove all the excess water from the curds and make it thick and creamy.
Like this -
Move the thick curds to a mixing bowl.
Now, add about 1/8th cup and a little more of powdered sugar to this. You can increase the sugar if you want it a little more sweet. This quantity is good for about 1 cup of thick yogurt.
Next add 1/4 tsp of liquid saffron or if you are using the saffron strands, about a big pinch dissolved in a few drops of warm milk.
Then, add a pinch of cardamom powder to this.
Whisk everything together well.
And finally add some chopped pistachios and almonds to the shrikand.
This can be eaten just like that. But, one of the traditional way to serve this is along with puris (Deep fried and puffed indian bread) - there is something about deep fried stuff and yogurt and sugar together - its an Indian thing!
Now, moving on to another of my favorite versions - Strawberry Shrikand! Being peak strawberry season now, we get the most sweetest delicious strawberries and why not make the most out of it. You could also do a Mango Shrikand which is also very popular. But, I'm sure this can be done with most of the other berries and even fruits like apricots or peaches. Its what you can imagine and come up with - I'm sure they all taste great!
Pick about 4-5 big strawberries. Remove the green stem - cut into 2 pieces and move to a blender.
Give it a few quick whirrrrrrsss without adding any water. Blend until you get a nice thick juice consistency.
In a mixing bowl, have another set of thick yogurt similar to what we made above - add sugar to taste. Then, pour in this thick fresh strawberry juice in there.
Whisk well - don't you just love the colors here?
Its pinkalicious now!!
Throw in some crushed nuts - pistachios and almonds work great. You could also add some chunks of cut strawberries if you like.
Now, there's some tasty, delicious Strawberry Shrikand!
And when you thought I was done with that - here's another quick look into how I like...no love my Shrikand..can you guess? Do you know me well?
Add some chopped or powdered chocolate and nuts and mix well with the strawberry shrikand. Just take my word for it - you'll love it if you are a chocolate lover like me! Even otherwise, you might just end up loving it and become a chocolate lover like me!
Ending on a sweet note with a parting shot - do try making these at your home and let me know how you enjoyed the process and the result!
Enjoy! Peace out!