Introduction: 5-minute Indian Dessert! - Shrikhand
It's going to take longer to tell the story of this dessert than it is to prepare it! (or eat it!) Making Shrikhand the proper way takes hours, but do it my way and it'll be ready in less than 5 minutes!
Here's what you'll need:
- Electric Mixer/Bowl
- Packet of MTR Badam Feast (100g) $2.99
- Container of whipped cream cheese (8oz) $1.87
But first, the backstory...
I first enjoyed Shrikhand in London over a dozen years ago, in one of those great Indian Bhel Poori restaurants on Drummond Street behind Euston Station. (I'm not sure which one; it might have been the Diwana?)
I then emigrated to the USA and any time I was in an Indian restaurant I asked for Shrikhand, but for all the years I've been here I never found it anywhere. So I decided to make my own... I followed many Indian recipes but never got the flavor or the texture right. Recipes called for yoghurt, and I tried plain, I tried Greek, I made my own - but it was never right. And I tried flavoring with cardamon but never got the flavor right either.
Then years later, an Indian store opened in our town, and among the things I tried there was a packet of flavoring called "MTR Badam Feast", intended for milk drinks and desserts. Well blow me over - it was the exact flavor I remembered for Shrikhand. All I needed to do now was work on the texture, which to my recollection had been far less like yoghurt and more like butter, or ... maybe ... cream cheese? Well, why not? ... I tried it, with the Badam Feast, and could not believe that I had stumbled on the perfect recipe at last. Given it was some years since I had it, this was exactly the treat I remembered!
(By coincidence, I had to return to London later that year, and I stopped off at Drummond St to check my recollection. Yes, it was spot on! This quick & easy substitute really is a good copy of the style of Shrikhand they serve in London...)
So... how to make it? Could not be simpler. Read on...
Step 1: Empty the Cream Cheese Into the Mixing Bowl
Empty the cream cheese into the mixing bowl... I used whipped cream cheese - you don't have to, you can use the regular kind and just whip it more in stage 3...
Step 2: Add Half a Packet of MTR Badam Feast
Add MTR Badam Feast to taste. I find half a packet to a tub of cream cheese is just about right for my taste.
Step 3: Mix
Give it a good mixing. All the dry powdery Badam Feast should be absorbed.
Step 4: Put Back Into Cheese Container and Wait
Put the mixture back into the cheese container and wait. We do this to give some of the ingredients in the Badam Feast (such as the sugar) a few minutes to dissolve better, which makes the final product a little smoother.
Step 5: Serve & Eat!
The quantity we made should serve 4 to 6 people. Serve in a small round bowl - the one in the picture is actually way too large - you should pick one that lets you serve a smaller portion and which you can level flat with a knife across the top. Unfortunately I don't have anything like that so I'm pigging out here on about a third of the mixture :-)
If you are a restauranteur, you could sell this for about $3 per serving, at a cost to you of about 50 cents, almost no effort, and ingredients you can keep on hand for some time without spoiling!