I’m surrounded by people who prefer the Alphonso mangoes to the Badam and Totapuri ones. I understand the allure of the Alphonso, but had by itself, it’s quite an attack to the senses-incredibly sweet and overpowering at the same time, not to mention it stains everything from your fingers to your clothes as you bite into one.
I wanted to make something for dinner that would sit well with the family, but also make someone like me happy. I do not appreciate the assault on my senses, and would rather channel all that concentrated Alphonso flavour into things like icing or custards, and then it hit me- the perfect aha moment-Amrakhand, a shrikhand made with Alphonso mangoes. By simply whisking mango puree through a block of very well hung curd (chakka), you can achieve something brilliant, but there are still a few things you must keep in mind.
The final texture and the rich taste of your Amrakhand depends a lot on the fat content of the milk you’re using. Using full-fat milk like Amul Gold or Buffalo milk from Gokul to make your dahi will result in a more delicious shrikhand. You could also opt for the alternative like I do many times, which is to simply pre-order your chakka block from Chitale’s. They have a store in Prabhadevi and you can call them. By letting the store know in advance, you can have a block of chakka ready to make your Amrakhand with. After that, it’s a simple whisk and taste job.
Amrakhand or Alphonso Mango Shrikhand
Yield 8-10 servings
The chakka in this Amrakhand recipe refers to hung curd that has been formed into a block, which shall be used as the creamy base for your mango puree.
Chakka 1 kilo from a brand like Chitales (Prabhadevi/Pune) (or very well hung yoghurt-4-5 hours at least-from 2 litres of full-fat milk like Amul Gold, or Buffalo Milk from a trusted brand like Gokul’s)
Alphonso mangoes 5-6, depends on the size, the best quality you can find
Sugar 350g, you may not need to use all of this quantity, as this depends on the sweetness of the mangoes
Saffron 10-12 threads
Nutmeg to finish
Chopped Dry fruits to finish
Separate the alphonso mango pulp from the seed and blitz in a mixer grinder till it is pureed well.
If making the chakka from scratch, set a sieve on top of a bowl and lay out a muslin cloth over the sieve. Put all the dahi or curd into the muslin cloth and pull up the ends to make a tight parcel. Fasten this parcel with a rubber band or just tie a knot. Place something heavy over the muslin cloth and allow the water to drain, and for the hung curd to form into a solid block, which will become your chakka.
To begin making the amrakhand, with the help of a whisk combine together the alphonso puree and solid chakka, adding the sugar in parts using a large spoon and whisking. Keep doing this until the mixture is smooth and you have added almost 3/4ths of the sugar. Taste the mixture and adjust the sugar as per your liking at this stage.
Heat a tiny saucepan that you’d use for tempering. When the saucepan is hot, take it off the heat and add the saffron strands in, tossing it around the pan quickly to activate it before splashing in 2 tbsp of milk. This must be done quickly.
Add the saffron milk to the amrakhand mixture and give it a few final whisks. Transfer to the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour at least. The mixture will firm up further as it sits in the refrigerator.
When serving, ladle the Amrakhand into bowls, grate over some fresh nutmeg, and finish with chopped dry fruits.