The most popular shrikhand variation uses saffron and pistachio. Make sure to buy full-fat yogurt, if you can, for the richest texture. Saffron is mixed with a bit of warm milk and beaten into the yogurt to impart a beautiful, pale-yellow hue. Pistachios garnish the dish to add a slight crunch.
- Lay a cheesecloth (in a pinch, a thin, white T-shirt works perfectly well) over a colander in the sink, and pour the yogurt into the center of the cloth. Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and bunch them together, forming a pouch. Squeeze the yogurt into a single mass. Using a rubber band, tie the ends of the cloth as close to the yogurt as possible to form a tight ball.
- To strain the yogurt, loop a wooden spoon through the rubber band, and rest the ends of the spoon on top of a large pot or wide jar. The ball of yogurt should be suspended from the spoon to drain the whey into the pot.
- Let hang for at least 8 hours (and up to 24 hours) in the fridge. When ready, the yogurt will be the texture of soft cream cheese.
- Once strained, heat milk with saffron in the microwave for 10 seconds. Mix, then continue alternating between microwaving for 10-second intervals and mixing until the liquid turns yellow (about 30 seconds total). Let cool for a couple of minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the thickened yogurt with a whisk in a medium bowl until light and airy, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the powdered sugar (start with less sugar if you prefer a more tart dessert), cardamom, and salt until smooth. Then add in the saffron milk mixture, reserving a few threads. Add in half of the chopped pistachios until fully incorporated.
- Taste, and add more sugar if desired, then garnish with the remaining saffron threads and pistachios. Shrikhand should be quite sweet, with a slight tartness, but not cloyingly sweet.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. This step allows all the flavors in the shrikhand to fully marinate. Shrikhand will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
Karishma Pradhan is a part-time recipe developer, cooking instructor, and data analytics consultant residing in Cambridge, MA. She founded the Home Cooking Collective, a community for aspiring home cooks to learn how to make delicious food. You can find her on Instagram at @homecookingcollective or homecookingcollective.com.