Friday, 10 August 2007
Desert the Dessert
Indian desserts are a thing that I have had great problems with over the years. As much as I adore all things Indian and savoury, I have always struggled to stomach their sugary offerings. To me, they always seemed to be that - too sugary. Either a pastry or a batter steeped in a sugar syrup, or those sugary and nut multi-coloured squares that look ever so pretty but taste ever so sickly. Always looking good, but rarely tasting as good as they look.
Of course this is my opinion. And I am of the nature that opinions are there to be changed. As the years have gone by and I have opened my mind up to the myriad of foodstuffs out there, my dislike of Indian desserts has become one of irritation to me. How can somebody love one side of a country's cuisine so much and not like the other? I always knew that it was a matter of just being shown a few alternative Indian desserts from their vast country to change my opinion. And last week that very thing happened.
I was introduced to a dessert called Shrikhand which is a dessert like no other. It is simply a strained yoghurt flavoured with cardamon and saffron, sweetened with a little honey and covered in fruit and nuts. Incredibly simple, it tastes exotic and cools the palate after a spicy main course. It is also light on the stomach, which is always a blessing after a starchy main. This is one of those desserts that you will always remember, and if you leave out the yoghurt straining, you will be able to whip up a very impressive dessert with minimum effort. My opinion has of course been changed. Indian desserts - I love them!
1 large tub of natural yoghurt
5-6 tbsp honey
1 large pinch of saffron, steeped in a little milk
15 green cardamon pods, seeds removed, pan roasted then ground
A handful of pistachios
A handful of sliced almonds
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 - If you want to make yoghurt 'cheese', line a sieve with kitchen roll and place over a large bowl. Pour in the yoghurt and place in the fridge overnight to remove all of the water. This is optional - it will make for a thicker, creamier and more sumptuous dessert.
2 - In a large bowl, beat together the yoghurt and honey. Then beat in the saffron and ground cardamon.
3 - Place piles into bowls. Scatter over the nuts and seeds.