Shrikhand is a delicious and simple dessert recipe made with thick yogurt flavored with sugar, saffron and cardamom. Whether you choose to use homemade hung curd or take a shortcut by using store bought Greek yogurt, this easy dessert is the perfect after dinner sweet. I share two ways of making shrikhand recipe with hung curd as well as greek yogurt.
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What is Shrikhand
Popular in the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, shrikhand is one of the easiest and tastiest desserts around. You can make this delicious sweetened yogurt using just 6 ingredients, and with only a few minutes of preparation. Seriously, it just takes 15 minutes of work!
If sweetened yogurt doesn’t sound like much of a dessert to you, I should point out that shrikhand is considered an important component of Maharashtrian and Gujarati weddings. This humble dessert is delicious enough to be served as part of the wedding thali meal, so you know it has to be good!
Traditional shrikhand is made using hung curd (also known as ‘Chakka‘ in Marathi language), a homemade yogurt that is drained of any whey.
With the growing popularity and availability of Greek yogurt, though, I have included this recipe version too in this post. Because of this shortcut, shrikhand has become my go-to dessert.
The resulting dish is creamy, thick and dense, almost like a tart cheesecake filling or thick pudding. In fact, if you wanted, you could probably use shrikhand to make a lovely icebox pie.
I also love that I don’t have to feel guilty about eating this traditional sweet. One serving of my shrikhand recipe made with hung curd is packed with 20% of the daily recommended protein and over 30% of calcium needed in a day. “Good for you dessert” is no longer an oxymoron!
Ingredients and Variations
Saffron and cardamom are a stunning combination of flavors when paired with tangy yogurt. While this kesar elaichi (literally “saffron cardamom”) flavored shrikhand is a favorite among Indians, the flavor combinations are endless.
Hung yogurt is basically a blank canvas, meaning it will take on any flavors you add to it. Aside from this recipe, I also love making Mango Shrikhand, but you can use any fruit purée that you wish.
Additionally, I love topping my shrikhand with pistachios for some crunch and salt, but you can opt for any nut that you fancy.
So come follow along with me as I show you step-by-step pictures of how to make your own hung yogurt and turn it into the delightful treat known as kesar elaichi shrikhand. You will be so glad that you did.
How to make Shrikhand
Make Hung Yogurt
NOTE: If you are using Greek yogurt or labna, you can skip these steps and read on below.
1. Line a mesh strainer with muslin, cheesecloth or a cotton tea towel. Set it atop a large bowl to allow drainage.
TIP: Choose a large enough bowl that the bottom of the strainer doesn’t come in contact with the bottom of the bowl.
2. Pour the fresh curd into the lined strainer. For reference, I added 4.5 cups of homemade curd (made from 1 litre of whole milk that yielded about 1.125 kg of curd).
TIP: Be sure to use fresh curd, not any that has gone sour.
3. Bring the four edges of the muslin together and tie one edge tightly around the rest.
4. Gently press to start the whey dripping.
5. Now weigh down the tied muslin, using a heavy bowl or a bowl. If you have a hook, you can also hung the muslin in your refrigerator. Allow to drain for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
6. Here is a look at the curd I drained the very next day. As you can see, the whey has been drained off and the remaining curd is very thick.
TIP: Use the collected whey in your everyday Indian food like preparing roti, gravies, rice dishes, lentils, etc. It is very rich in nutrients and offers a lovely tangy flavor.
7. Hung curd (or chakka) is very creamy and smooth. The texture is similar to that of cream cheese. For reference, the yield from 1.125 kgs of yogurt was 425 grams of hung curd.
NOTE: If you are not using the hung curd right away, be sure to place it in a lidded bowl in the refrigerator for safekeeping.
Now that you have the hung curd ready, you can make delicious shrikhand in just a few minutes’ time!
Prepare the Flavorings
8. Add ½ tablespoon warm milk in a small bowl and steep 2 pinches of saffron strands. Stir and set aside.
9. In a mortar, crush 4 to 5 green cardamom pods into a powder. Set aside.
TIP: Whole spices keep their oils (and flavor!) much better than ground spices. I highly recommend grinding your own cardamom for the best flavor possible.
10. Place the hung curd in a bowl.
11. Add fine or superfine sugar or raw sugar and lightly stir with a spatula or spoon.
NOTE: You can also use powdered sugar or castor sugar
12. Add the saffron steeped milk and powdered cardamom.
13. Using an electric beater, begin to whip the hung curd. You can also beat the hung yogurt in a blender or a stand-mixer.
NOTE: In many Maharashtrian homes, shrikhand is made by blending and sieving the hung curd through puran yantra, which is similar to what Americans refer to as a “food mill.” To make things extra quick and easy, I have used an electric beater. You can also beat with a wired whisk, but it takes a lot of time and elbow grease to get things to the right consistency for this much quantity of hung curd.
14. Whip until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very smooth. Check the taste and add more sugar if required.
15. With a silicon spatula scrape all of the yummy shrikhand into your serving bowls, using the spatula or the back of a spoon to flatten the mixture with a decorative swirl.
16. Chill the shrikhand in the fridge for at least an hour for the flavors to meld and for it to firm up. Prior to serving, top with some sliced dry fruits, roasted nuts or charoli/chironji. I added some crushed pistachios for garnish.
Make Shrikhand with Greek Yogurt
Making shrikhand recipe with greek yogurt saves you of the additional time spent in hanging the curd to remove the whey.
Greek yogurt is thick unlike the usual homemade Curd as the whey has been already removed during its making.
So all you need is just about 10 to 15 minutes to make shrikhand from greek yogurt. Refrigerate for half to one hour and you are ready to serve it.
So when you are are short of time or expecting sudden guests, you can make this quick recipe of shrikhand with greek yogurt.
1. In a small bowl, take ½ to 1 tablespoon milk and warm it on a stove top or in a microwave. Add a pinch of saffron strands – about 12 to 15 strands. Mix and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl take 1.5 cups chilled greek yogurt (about 400 grams).
3. Add ⅓ cup fine sugar. I have used unrefined organic cane sugar. You can also add powdered sugar instead. Add sugar as per taste.
First add ⅓ cup and if required you can add 1 to 2 tablespoon more. For a more sweet taste, you can add ½ cup sugar.
Whipping Greek Yogurt
4. With a wired whisk and with brisk round movements, mix the sugar with the yogurt, as well as beat the yogurt till it becomes smooth and does not have any tiny yogurt granules.
For a quicker work, use a stand mixer or an electric beater to whip the greek yogurt.
5. Here’s the greek yogurt whipped to a perfect smooth, creamy consistency. This takes about 6 to 7 minutes.
6. Now add the saffron soaked milk and ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom powder and 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg.
7. Mix again very well.
8. Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You can also keep overnight or for a couple of days.
While serving, sprinkle some sliced or chopped dry fruits (almonds, cashews, pistachios, chironji) and 2 to 3 saffron strands (optional).
I have used chopped cashews for garnish. Serve greek yogurt shrikhand.
What do you eat with Shrikhand
Enjoy shrikhand as it is like a sweet dessert. Want even more crunch and a bit of richness? Serve alongside delicious fried Poori!
Storage and Make Ahead
Store shrikhand in a covered container or box for a week in the refrigerator. For make ahead options, you can make a large batch and freeze for 1 to 2 months.
Serve it plain, or with poori for added crunch. I like topping mine with crushed pistachios, but any chopped nuts or dried fruits will work as well. If you’re feeling creative, perhaps try spooning the shrikhand into a graham cracker crust for a take on icebox pie!
Absolutely! I actually recommend that you make it ahead of time so that the dessert will have a chance to firm up a bit in the refrigerator. Prepared shrikhand can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Sure! The shrikhand recipes are scalable, but if you want to reduce the servings, then just prepare less hung curd or use less greek yogurt. Adjust sugar and the flavorings accordingly.
I don’t see why not! I’d recommend starting with a coconut or non-dairy Greek style yogurt and using whatever alternative milk you prefer.
Saffron is quite expensive, and for good reason. Did you know that it takes approximately 75,000 blossoms to harvest 1 pound of saffron threads, and that each of those blossoms are gathered by hand? Saffron is not only beautiful and delicious; it also hosts quite a few health benefits, making it well worth the expense. That said, you can make this shrikhand simply with just cardamom and it will still taste delicious.
If you do not want to bother with hanging curd for yourself, you can easily swap in store bought Greek yogurt (like my recipe above), labna (a middle eastern yogurt that is quite thick), skyr, or even sour cream.
Yes you can freeze shrikhand for 1 to 2 months and refrigerate it for a week as well.
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Shrikhand Recipe (2 Ways)
With hung curd
- 4.5 cups Curd (yogurt) – 1.125 kg
- 8 to 9 tablespoons sugar (fine or superfine) or raw sugar or powdered sugar – add as required
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or 4 to 5 green cardamoms – crushed fine in a mortar
- 24 to 30 saffron strands or 2 pinches
- ½ tablespoon warm milk
- 7 to 8 pistachios crushed or chopped – add any nut of choice
With greek yogurt
- 1.5 cups chilled greek yogurt or greek style yogurt – 400 grams
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder or 2 to 3 green cardamoms – crushed fine in a mortar
- 2 to 3 pinches grated nutmeg or ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅓ to ½ cup sugar (fine or superfine) or raw sugar or powdered sugar – add as required
- ½ to 1 tablespoon warm milk
- 12 to 15 saffron strands or 1 pinch
- 1 to 2 tablespoon nuts (of your choice) – cashews, almonds or pistachios
Making hung curd
- First line the strainer on a deep bowl. Then line a muslin cheesecloth or kitchen cotton towel on the strainer.
- Pour the fresh curd. Do use fresh curd and not one which has gone sour.
- Bring the four edges of the muslin together and tie one edge tightly around the rest.
- Gently press and you will see the whey dripping.
- Now place a heavy bowl or lid or tray on the tied muslin. If you have a hook, you can also hung the muslin in your refrigerator. Now keep the whole thing in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
- I kept for 24 hours. Do use a deep bowl below, so that there is some distance between the curd in the strainer and the collected whey. Otherwise the whey will touch the strainer as well as the curd. Thus there will be some whey in the curd.
- Next day the whey will be drained and the hung curd will be ready. Use the collected nutrient rich greenish whey in your everyday food like preparing chapatis, gravies, rice dishes, dals etc.
- With a silicon spatula, collect the hung curd in a container or lidded bowl if not using it. Cover with its lid and then refrigerate. With the hung curd you can now proceed to make the shrikhand.
Making shrikhand with hung yogurt
- Take warm milk in a small bowl. Add 2 pinch of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.
- In a mortar powder 4 to 5 green cardamoms. Keep aside.
- Take the chakka or hung curd in a bowl.
- Add fine sugar. Lightly stir with a spatula or spoon. You can also use powdered sugar.
- Then add the saffron dissolved milk and powdered saffron.
- Using an electric beater, begin to whip the hung curd. You can also beat the hung yogurt in a blender.
- Whip till smooth. The sugar should also dissolve. Check the taste and add more sugar if required.
- With a silicon spatula scrape the beaters’ sides and edges of the hung curd and add to the bowl.
- You can chill the shrikhand in fridge and later serve. While serving shrikhand, top with some sliced dry fruits. You can also top shrikhand with crushed dry fruits. I added some crushed pistachios for garnish.
Making greek yogurt shrikhand
- In a small bowl, take milk and warm it on a stove top or in a microwave. Add a pinch of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.
- Then in a mixing bowl take the chilled greek yogurt.
- Add fine or superfine sugar or raw sugar or powdered sugar. Add sugar according to your taste. First add ⅓ cup and if required you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons more. For a more sweeter taste add ½ cup sugar.
- With a wired whisk and with brisk round movements, mix sugar with the yogurt, as well as beat the yogurt until it becomes smooth and without any tiny yogurt granules.
- You should get a smooth, creamy consistency in the yogurt.
- Now add the saffron soaked milk, cardamom powder and 2 to 3 pinches of nutmeg powder.
- Mix again very well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You can also keep overnight or for a couple of days.
- While serving, sprinkle some sliced or chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, chironji) and 2 to 3 saffron strands (optional).
- Serve shrikhand plain as it is like a sweet dessert or have it with poori or chapati. It also makes for a dessert sweet with any vegetarian Indian main course.
- Store shrikhand in a covered container or box for a week in the refrigerator. For make ahead options, you can make a large batch and freeze for 1 to 2 months.
- Nuts: Include nuts of your choice as garnish – almonds, cashews, pistachios, taste good.
- Flavorings: Cardamom is not to be missed in shrikhand. But you can omit saffron from the recipe. You could flavor with rose water as well.
- Scaling: You can easily halve any of the recipe or make a large batch.
- Vegan option: Try with coconut or non-dairy greek style yogurt and use any nut milk or water for soaking the saffron strands.
- Note that the servings and nutrition data is for the shrikhand recipe made with hung yogurt.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This shrikhand recipe post from the blog archives (April 2015) has been republished and posted on 26 March 2021.