Samyukta Kartik’s recipe for raw, vegan shrikhand made with cashew and fermented coconut milk.
This sweet, zesty dessert has its origins in Maharashtra, but is now widely consumed in many parts of the country. It’s simply thickened hung-curd, sweetened with sugar, and flavoured with cardamom and saffron. The recipe I’m sharing with you is unique because it contains no dairy whatsoever, yet provides the same sweet and tangy flavour profile, and thick, creamy mouthfeel that one would expect from its dairy-based equivalent.
In my great-grandmother’s household, cows were raised with unconditional love and care. We used cow milk to make ghee, butter, and shrikhand, among many other treats. This tradition continued over generations, and I grew up eating the shrikhand that my grandmother had mastered over years, made with so much love! But the process and intention of extracting milk from cows was very different back in their time, as was the community's approach to small-scale dairy farming. Today’s farming methods are so different that I no longer consume any animal products, and instead, find alternate ways to recreate dishes that are still very special to me.
My raw vegan version of Shrikhand is made with slightly unconventional ingredients - cashew, and fermented coconut milk.
Recipe: Samyukta’s Raw Vegan Shrikhand
1 cup cashews (raw)
½ cup fermented coconut milk*
1 ½ lime, freshly squeezed
3 tbsp coconut sugar (or any sweetener of your choice)
½ tsp powdered cardamom
Large pinch of saffron strands
Tiny pinch of salt
To make fermented coconut milk
Sterilize a glass jar with boiling water and wait for it to cool.
Blend 1 cup of grated coconut with 1 ½ cups of water in a high-speed blender until milky, and strain through fine cheesecloth.
Pour the coconut milk into the sterilized jar, cover with two layers of cheesecloth (or a cotton/muslin cloth), and secure with a rubberband.
Leave it out at room temperature for about 16 hours to allow it to mildly ferment. Since this might attract ants, it’s a good idea to place the jar on top of a plate filled with a small pool of water.
Do a taste test after 16 hours. If it is mildly sour, it means it has fermented a bit, and that’s just the level of fermentation required for this recipe. At this point you can either shift the jar to the refrigerator or use it immediately for this recipe.
To make Shrikhand
Make sure the cashews have been soaked in water overnight, or alternatively, in warm water for 30 minutes. This helps the cashews get soft enough to blend into a cream.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews
Blend all the ingredients (except the saffron) in a high speed blender until smooth and velvety in texture.
Transfer this to a bowl, fold in the strands of saffron, and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours so that it will thicken and get chilled.
Once it’s very cold and ready to serve, top it with some more strands of saffron and any seasonal fruit; mangoes and strawberries both taste incredible with shrikhand but there’s always room to experiment with other fruits too.
Samyukta Kartik a passionate foodie with a love for clean, healthy, and nourishing plant foods. She is also a freelance chef who focuses on raw foods, fermentation and nut cheeses. You can check out her other recipes here.
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