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Mango Shrikhand: MamaCooks

By Betsy Block

Indian strained yogurt with saffron & mangoes

Sometimes, Looking Good requires just a little bit of advance planning.

SERVING SIZE: makes 2 1/2 cups; serves 2-4 (it's rich)

  • 32 oz. plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled
  • 6 strands saffron soaked in 1-2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup toasted and silvered almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted unsalted pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds (or not freshly ground at all but rather from a jar as I used)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (Tara says to use more if you want it on the sweet side - I used one and a quarter cups and it tasted as sweet as sweetened yogurt you'd buy at the store)

1. Empty yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined strainer and suspend it over a bowl. Let drip 12 hours, or overnight. (Tara says you only have to refrigerate this if it's summer, but erring on the side of caution, I'll say go ahead and throw it in the fridge even if there's a record-breaking blizzard outside.)You'll want to discard the liquid a couple of times, because an unbelievable amount drains out. By the end, the yogurt had reduced by half.

2. Remove from the cheesecloth when all the water has drained out and refrigerate for at least two hours (unless you've been draining it in the fridge.)

3. Slice mango into long pieces. Place in a covered bowl and chill.

4. In a mixer, whip yogurt and sugar together on slow until yogurt gets fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Do not over-whip, as yogurt will split. Add saffron (with its soaking liquid) and cardamom and whip 30 seconds longer.

5. Top with mangoes, roasted almonds and pistachios.

When you see a recipe with instructions to, say, drain yogurt overnight, or buy cheesecloth, for God's sake, you might find yourself feeling a bit annoyed. Who wants to deal with that, right? But sometimes, Looking Good requires just a little bit of advance planning. The upside? Once you've lined the strainer with cheesecloth and then poured in the yogurt (a total time expenditure of approximately one minute), you are then more than justified in sitting on the couch and reading a book. After all, you're right in the middle of preparing something delicious. See what I'm saying? (Recipe can be doubled.)

Betsy Block grew up in Washington, D.C. She worked in catering companies and casual restaurants throughout high school and college. She spent a semester in Kenya during her junior year at Brown, graduating with honors in 1988. She then worked for a year at the renowned Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Somehow, a few years later, she ended up in a master's degree program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Just as she was getting dangerously involved with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, she read Ruth Reichl's Le Cirque review. Next thing anyone knew, she had dropped out of graduate school.

Since then, Betsy has written hundreds of food features and restaurant reviews for publications such as Gourmet, Epicurious.com, The Boston Globe, Boston magazine, and online city guides Sidewalk and CitySearch. She is a regular contributor to NPR Online's weekly food column, Kitchen Window.

She has written on other topics for Natural Health Magazine, Entrepreneur, and Family Fun. Betsy lives outside of Boston with her husband, two kids, an aging but still rowdy mutt, any number of wilting or dying plants, and one (formerly) hardy betta fish (blue, now dead).

Categories: Food & Recipes, MamaCooks, MomShare,

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