Welcome to Indian-ish. This is a book about me, and about my mom, told through her one-of-a-kind recipes. It’s the best of both of us: my outlandish tales and lack of shame, plus her food.
Indian-ish was never supposed to be the title of this book. It was actually the placeholder title I put on the book proposal until I could think of something better. But I slowly started realizing that the word is actually the perfect encapsulation of my life and my relationship to my family.
First and foremost, Indian-ish describes my mom’s cooking — 60 percent traditional Indian, 40 percent Indian-plus-something else, mostly vegetarian — like a South Indian-meets-Spanish tomato rice topped with broiled cheddar cheese, sandwiches crusted with pan-fried curry leaves, and the like.
Shrikhand (Sweet Cardamom Yogurt) Recipe
For all the people out there who believe that yogurt could never, ever be a decadent dessert, I present to you the exception to the rule: shrikhand, one of my favorite sweets of all time. It’s an impossibly creamy, saffron-studded, I-can’t-believe-I-made-this-with-yogurt treat that’s typical of the Indian region of Gujarat. My mom started making it because my dad’s older brother, Pradeep, loves it. And then my sister and I tried it once and were like, “Okay, yep, here for this,” because shrikhand is impossible not to adore. My mom usually makes this with my dad’s homemade yogurt, but you can get that same super-silky texture with good-quality store-bought Greek yogurt. My friend Khushbu came up with the idea of putting shrikhand in a graham cracker pie shell and refrigerating it — I haven’t personally tried this, but I imagine it would yield the best no-bake pie ever.
- 4 cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt (1 quart-size container)
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Seeds from 4 green cardamom pods, crushed into a powder, or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)
Serves 4 to 6
- Line a large colander with coffee filters or paper towels, overlapping them so that they cover the sides, and set it over a deep plate or bowl. Pour in the yogurt and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours to allow the whey to drain out and thicken the yogurt. In the morning, the yogurt should be very thick — like an even creamier, richer Greek yogurt.
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush 1/4 teaspoon of the saffron threads into a powder.
- In a large bowl, combine the strained yogurt, sugar, cardamom, and crushed saffron. Mix well — the yogurt should turn a pale yellow color. Top with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon whole saffron threads (don’t mix, as you want that stained effect) and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours (and up to 8 hours) before serving.
Also from Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family:
Excerpted from Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family ) © 2019 by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna. Photography © 2019 by Mackenzie Kelley. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.