Tomorrow, we celebrate Gudi Padva. For uninitiated, Gudi Padva is celebrated in Maharashtra to mark the beginning of new year according to lunisolar Hindu Calendar. This day also attains significance for agricultural and religious reasons.
Essentially, it is the end of one agricultural harvest(Rabi season) and beginning of another. It also assumes great religious importance for Hindus as it is one of saadhe teen muhurat (three and half auspicious days).Every Indian festival has a special significance and a special delicacy is prepared on these festival days and offered to deities. Preparations made of Til (sesame seeds) are made on Makar Sankranti, Modaks are made during Ganesh festival, fried delicacies during Diwali. Similarly, during Gudi Padwa Shrikhand is made in many Maharashtrian households. Since Summer has already set in during this time of the year, Shrikhand made with thick yogurt would serve as a good summer heat antidote.
Amrakhand is typically a delightful variation made to Shrikhand, by adding mango pulp to this preparation. As you must have guessed by now, since mangoes are available in abundance in summer, it becomes a natural choice. However, unfortunately this year as it rained abnormally during Feb-March, mango harvest are badly affected and they are not available as readily as they are every year. The ones that are available would cost you a bomb!! So I decided to prefer mango pulp that are easily available in super markets.
First thing first, we need hung curd. Procedure for making hung curd is fairly simple. Fresh curd is tied in a muslin cloth and hung over a bowl to drain entire liquid out from curd. I perform this in two steps. First leave the Hung Curd suspended for 2 hours at room temperature keeping a bowl under this bag which is used to collect all excess whey (curd liquid). After two hours, transfer this hung curd in refrigerator and leave it hung for another 6-7 hours or preferably overnight. If you are wondering, why do I put hung curd in refrigerator, well the answer is because of weather. In India, it gets pretty hot and humid and leaving curd at room temperature can make it sour. After this step you would get a fairly thick curd that will last long without souring.Now,add mango pulp (blended) and granulated sugar and dry fruits (almonds, pistachio,cashew-nuts) and whisk them well. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Amrakhand is best enjoyed with Pooris.
Click here to watch recipe video
- 200 gms Mango Pulp (We are using Alphonso Pulp)
- 250 gms Hung Curd
- 75 gms Sugar
- 1 tbsp Chironji (Charoli)-lightly roasted for 30 secs
- Cashewnuts, Almonds and Pistachio (coarsely grounded)
- ½ tsp Cardamom Powder
- ¼th tsp Nutmeg Powder
- Some saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk)
- In a large bowl, put Hung Curd, Sugar. Whisk well to get rid of all the lumps.
- Now add Mango Pulp and whisk well.
- We have whisked Curd, Sugar and Mango Pulp. Basic Amrakhand is ready.
- Add some plain rabdi (dried) (or Khoa, Malai Barfi, Mango Kalakand )(This is almost 50 gms in weight)
- Now add Saffron Milk, Nutmeg Powder, Cardamom Powder and mix well
- Add chopped Pistachio, Cashewnuts, Almonds and Chironji and mix well.
- You may modify the quantity of Sugar, Mango Pulp based upon the desired sweetness. Refrigerate for 2 hours
- To form Hung Curd:
- a) We have used 250 gms Hung Curd. 250 gms Hung Curd is formed from 800 gms Curd. This quantity may vary based upon brand of Curd you purchase (I have used Daily Fresh)
- b) Tie Curd in a muslin cloth and leave it suspended for 2 hours. This separates whey (liquid) from the curd. After 2 hours, leave the curd hung in refrigerator for 6-7 hours or preferably overnight
- c) This will result into thick curd (solids) which can be used for making delicious Shrikhand/Amrakhand
- d) I make a batter of rice flour and whey, adding chili, garlic, ginger, cumin paste to the batter. Then I make Cheelas with this rice batter. These Cheelas are very healthy and tasty as well.