Sheirki or Shedki is a forgotten delicacy from the Khambhat or Cambay region of Gujarat. Once, a hugely popular mishtaan/sweet the Sheirki is hardly made in the region now, while the non-Khambhatis aren’t even aware of its existence.
Couple of years back, a Google search for some information on Shrikhand had a mention of this dish on it’s Wiki page. After reading a line on ‘Shedki’ as mentioned on the page, I began exploring more about it. It has been over a year that I have been trying to source the recipe and more information on Sheirki. Traveling to Khambhat in search of Sheirki was the only option left as my Khambhati acquaintances weren’t aware of its presence or origin. It was one of those everyday chats with my Pappa and mention of this dish that led me to the recipe and sneak peek into its history. My father spoke to his lawyer friend from Khambhat who shared all that he knew about Sheirki- the recipe, how it is made, the care that goes into making it, the nuances to a good Sheirki and how he has been enjoying it since his childhood. Sadly, these days not many make or enjoy this dish even in Khambhat and there are just couple of outlets that still carry the tradition of making Sheirki.
Shri. Bipinchandra Trivedi or Bipin uncle as I call him began with describing the consistency of the Sheirki, “It is thinner than Matho (thinner Shrikhand) and thicker than lassi. One can call it a liquid matho. It is not as sweet as Shrikhand but has a tad bit of tartness to it. Charoli is a must, rose petals only if you can find good ones!! No cardamom is added instead we add powdered nutmeg to it and is always served with puri. The yogurt is drained but not completely as we would for Shrikhand…. the drained yogurt and sugar are beaten well before passing through a fine cloth or sieve.” He went ahead to share that this was the dish served during his janoi/sacred thread ceremony some 65 years ago and not so long ago he hosted Sheirki makers from Khambhat to make some authentic Sheirki for the wedding feast of their daughter. The dish has a history of more than 200 years, it was always a part of celebration feasts along with Mohanthal. The consistency made it impossible to drink in the pariya/pattal, hence it was always served in a shakora/mitti kulhad and scooped in a puri.
Recently, one of my classmates from Khambhat shared an interesting fact about the making of this dish, “my Dadi always added the rose petals in the yogurt before she tied it in a cloth and set aside for draining. This helped imparting a beautiful flavor and aroma to the Sheirki.” Quite a revelation!!
I am still exploring more about this dish and will keep adding it to this write up as I learn more. Meanwhile, I recreated this classic dish while I was in Ahmedabad in June. The Sheirki did pass the taste test, this refreshing and cooling delicacy was relished quite a few times during the harsh summer days…….
- 4 - 5 cups yogurt, full fat
- 3/4 cup sugar, powdered
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 tablespoon charoli/chironji
- a handful of fresh petals of Desi Gulab ( organic ones only)
Place a sieve lined with muslin cloth over a large colander and pour the yogurt in it.
Allow the yogurt to drain for 3-4 hours. If using, add the rose petals at this stage.
We do not require to drain the entire liquid present in the yogurt but almost 80 percent of it.
Transfer the drained yogurt to a glass bowl. Add the sugar and beat it well to dissolve the sugar.
Place the mixture in refrigerator for an hour or so. Allow the sugar to melt in the drained yogurt.
As the sugar dissolves the mixture will loosen up a bit.
Once the sugar has melted, place a sieve over the colander, pass the yogurt-sugar mixture through the sieve.
The mixture has to be thinner than shrikhand but thicker than lassi. If required add couple of tablespoons of milk to loosen it up a bit.
Once the entire batch of yogurt mix is strained, add the nutmeg powder, chopped almonds, charoli to the mix.
Transfer the Sheirki to a serving bowl and refrigerate to chill.
Serve in Shakora (mitti kulhar) garnished with rose petals, slivered almonds and charoli.
Serve chilled with hot puris.
Use a good quality full-fat milk to set the yogurt. Traditionally this dish does not use cardamom powder as the yogurt and roses provide enough cooling properties. Adjust the sugar to your taste. Use roses which have not been sprayed with pesticides. Organic or the ones from your garden work the best. Feel free to omit the rose petals if you aren't sure of the quality. If you happen to find good roses add the petals to the yogurt before you prepare to hang it. This helps infuse good flavors and aromas to the dish.