Blueberry Aamrakhand

Saffron flavored Blueberry and Mango sweetened Yogurt

[aahm ruh khand] (hindi/sanskrit)

Summer – the most awaited season of the year, to me is a season of self-pampering with fruits, be it sweet cherries or delicate berries in hues of reds, powdery blues and shining blacks. Given my self confessed love for mangoes, it is even more so, when mango season pleasantly overlaps with that of the berries. I get to have the better, if not best of both worlds. You see, best of the best Alphonso mangoes don’t come anywhere outside India!

Let me indulge you in a fruit dessert we enjoyed thoroughly licking every centimeter of the spoon last week. It is a dessert showcasing fresh fruits with zero baking and of course, minus the pile of guilt. What comes through is a perfect creamy and not so rich package to satiate a yearning sweet tooth, yet in a healthy way. Here it is:

Strained Yogurt + sweetener aka sugar + spices (saffron and cardamom) = Shrikhand

Blend in some rich pulpy flavorful mangoes into a Shrikhand and voila! you have

Aamrakhand = (Aam + Shrikhand) [ Aam - Mango]
Here’s an elaborate on from Wiki. Kitchendaily also comes very close to precise on the definition of Shrikhand.
Make your own equation by adding or subtracting the variants like sweetener, spices and fruit(s). I just took a tiny leap by introducing blueberries to the blend and dared to think I had an improvisation. You’ve got to eat to declare it “Ambrosia of the Gods” err “Greek Gods” may be!
Takeaway: Strawberries and Mangoes are not the be-all and end-all of a successful Berry-Mango relationship. Blueberries and Mangoes make just as wonderful a couple too.

We had recently gone blueberry picking at a nearby farm. After an hour of blueberry search & picking under the hot sun (albeit, it wasn’t  even 11:00 in the morning), I could gather just close to a pound.
Only after that did I fully realize why they are priced so; Blueberry picking is indeed labor intensive and a litmus test for patience and under the Texas sun, I’d say forget it!
Yeah, that the farmland area is under drought this year and there was a memorial weekend mad rush for picking must have made matters worse. But, at least you get the point.
BTW if you live around Houston, Chmielewski’s farm  is a good one to visit.

Which type of Mango works best?
Among the Indian mango cultivars, Alphonso or Badami are best suited for this recipe. In their absence, Banganpalli may be a good alternative. Even though Rasapuri and Malgova varieties are excellent in sweetness and flavor, they do not make good choices, former being too juicy and latter being overly fibrous.
For the absence of these mango variants where I live, I went with Ataulfo (Mexican) mangoes, which come closest to what I desired. They are delicately sweet, flavorful, smoothly pulpy and non fibrous with a ‘barely there’ seed that makes them ideal for such a mango preparation. Though can be very picky about the Mangoes I choose to eat, I was quite happy with this one.
tipAtaulfo mangoes are at their ripest best when they are golden-yellow and slightly wrinkled. Even if they appear a light greenish-yellow when bought, don’t worry, they’ll ripen sitting on your counter.
They are my recent discovery in Sam’s club and are sold in boxes of 15 and well priced for the count. If you are a mango epicure, I bet you won’t hesitate to buy.

Apparently Shrikhand and its many flavored and fruit based variants are more popular a dessert in cities of northern Karnataka like Belgaum, Hubli, Dharwad and those in the vicinity and not as much in southern Karnataka or other parts. I figure in hindsight, it must have been one of the many food influences from across the Maharashtra border.
I was probably a high school girl when I tasted my first serving of Shrikhand. It was on one of those summer breaks visiting my parents in a non-distinct village in North Karnataka, while my dad was posted as an engineer on his central government job. Not sure if I had completed liked it then, but Aamrakhand is hands down my cup of tea now.
Happy to be at the end of my monologue, this is the part I am most excited about. So, over to you..
Have you relished Mangoes and Blueberries coupled in any recipe? Tell me all about it..

Blueberry Aamrakhand Recipe

Printable Recipe
Things you’ll need:
  • 2 ripe mangoes (I used Ataulfo mangoes)
  • 1/2 cup plump blueberries
  • 3/4 cup 100% natural or organic non fat plain greek yogurt*
  • 1-2 tbsp non fat dry milk ~ optional
  • 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 5-6 strands Saffron
For garnish
  • blueberries
  • mango diced to 1/4″ 
others
  • clean white muslin/cotton cloth or cotton tissue (like bounty)
  • grater
*FAGE (fa-yeh), OIKOS and Chobani are my preferred brands. OIKOS is organic and is obviously expensive one of the three. Both FAGE and Chobani are all natural and better priced as well. On a given day when I can’t find any of these, I would do with Brown Cow or Greek Gods.
How it’s done:

Mango puree Slice off the top stem end of the mangoes with a sharp paring knife. Slice one side of one mango, small-dice it in hedgehog style (here’s a video on how to) and set aside for folding and garnish. Don’t flinch for a second about this being messy, I promise the end result will be nothing short of mango-licious!
Peel off the skin of the remaining one and half mangoes which should not be difficult if the mango is fully ripe. Grate the mango pulp around the pit on a grater as best as you can and discard the pit. Grating the mango pulp gives a wonderful thick texture without letting the juices running. But, if you find it too clumsy a task, go ahead and pulse it in a blender anyway.
Infuse saffron Microwave milk for 30 secs and crush the saffron strands between your finger tips into the hot milk. Stir, cover and let it infuse its color and delicate flavor.
Strain yogurt Scoop out measured Greek yogurt on to a clean muslin cloth or simply a couple of layered bounty tissues, wrap and dab all around to take out as much moisture as possible. Repeat this a couple of times as necessary. I like my Aamrakhand to be thick, so I like to squeeze all the extra moisture out of the greek yogurt. If you aren’t too particular, skip this step.
Mix all Stir confectioner’s sugar, saffron infused milk and dry milk into the mango puree avoiding lumps from forming. Gently whisk double-strained greek yogurt into the mango puree until well blended. Check for sweetness and adjust sugar if required. Fold in three-quarters of the blueberries and diced mangoes until just combined.
To serve, fill it into about 6-8 oz slender juice glasses until three fourth and garnish with a few blueberries and couple of diced mango pieces and refrigerate for an hour. Best served chilled.
Dos & Don’ts
Taste the mangoes for sweetness and adjust the sugar accordingly.
I’ve used dry milk and confectioner’s sugar for the thick consistency that I love. If you aren’t too particular, skip either or both and use regular sugar.
Though store-bought sweetened mango puree seems like a super easy choice, I find it overly sweet and runny with an overwhelming remnant tinny taste. Do me a favor and refrain from it, just this once and see the difference in taste for yourself.

Did you know?
  • Blueberries do not ripen once picked? They are fully ripe and taste best (sweet) when powdery blue.
    • Before turning powdery blue, they are a shy pinkish green
    • Beehives are used for pollination on the farms
  • 6 oz (less than a cup) of plain non fat greek yogurt has at least 18g of protein - more than double of that in the same quantity of regular yogurt.
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