My favourite Parsi dishes are for some reason always the simplest.
I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned to her in passing just how much I love Dhandar as well as Tareli Machchi simply because it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and is so wholesome in taste. One such simple Parsi dessert that I also adore is Mithoo Dahi or sweet curd. And yes, I like it more than Lagan nu Custard!
Most often had as an accompaniment with the Parsi birthday classic Sev, Mithoo Dahi is quite simple to make at home (all you have to do is add caster sugar to home-made curd along with a bit of vanilla essence). However, my favourite place to have Mithoo Dahi is at P.A.C. in Grant Road. Their curd is thick, creamy, sweet and has hints of vanilla and cardamom that just make you close your eyes in delight. I love it so much that it is one of the first things I make people try on my Grantroad Parsi Snack Trail that I do once a month with Wandering Foodie.
Now, call me obtuse but while I’ve heard a lot of hoo-haa recently about hung curd, I’ve just never tried it out. Not even with ready made yogurt. There is no excuse except that I was scared to give it a go and waste a bowl of perfectly good dahi. But then, I came across one of my favourite bakers’ – Tarika Singh of To the T – post on Gulab Jamun Cheesecake and I was wowed at the fact that one could make a cheesecake without using cream cheese. Couple that with the fact that I had an old pack of curd petulantly sitting in the fridge and there came the inspiration to not only make hung curd but to make a Mithoo Dahi Cheesecake.
I could have added a fruit flavour to it but I’ve long since wanted to make a very ‘Parsi’ flavoured cake and this Mithoo Dahi Cheesecake is my tribute to my all time favourite Parsi dessert – I hope you enjoy making it!
Your first step is to make the hung curd. To do this, all you need to do is line a sieve with some muslin or cheesecloth. Place this sieve over a steel bowl making sure there is atleast 3 – 4 inches space for the ‘hanging’ to take place. Now for the hardest part – open your yogurt packet and empty it out into the sieve.
Close the ends of your cloth together and squeeze tight to drain out moisture. Place this contraption in the fridge for 24 hours so that it can work its magic.
I know its hard to wait, but at the end of your penalty time you are going to be left with a creamy remarkably cheese-like product which is your hung curd.
While you’re killing time, crush together the biscuits and the butter in a grinder and line your cake tin if you’re using one and create a thick biscuit base. I didn’t want any fighting so I went with individual serves and later realised they would look quite cute in India style chai glasses so I am going to give that a try next time.
Once the base is in place, refrigerate until its set (about an hour).
Now, mix together your sugar, cardamom-nutmeg powder and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whip up the cream. Add the sugar mixture and then the hung curd as you continue whisking.
Finally, boil some water and add 4 tbsp water to your gelatin. Mix both together very quickly and add it into your cake mix.
Pour in your cake mix into the moulds and garnish with some of the leftover biscuit base (optional). Let your Mithoo Dahi Cheesecake set for atleast 4 hours or preferably overnight. Serve chilled and watch it being gobbled up in under 5 minutes.
To make a 6″ cheesecake or four individual serves you will need:
400 gm yogurt
1/2 cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cardamom & nutmeg powder
1 tbsp gelatin
4 tbsp boiling water
200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul Cream with 25% fat)
8 Shrewsbury or Marie biscuits (I like the former as they are more buttery)
1 tbsp butter