Sweet Yogurt with Saffron + New Year

For New Year’s Day our family dined on Indian inspired delicacies.  I whipped up my version of sweet yogurt with saffron as the dessert on this cold, snowy first day of 2014 in Iowa.

Saffron is one of the main flavorings of this sweet and subtle dish.  Saffron, picture above, is the world’s most expensive spice.  It is actually the dried center, or stigma, of a crocus plant that grows in northwest India, the Mediterranean, and Turkey.  Saffron should be stored in the freezer to maintain its fragrance and the powdered kind should not be used if you want the best aroma from this spice.

The recipe originally called for sugar, I substituted honey for a different flavor.  I did not give an exact measurement, as I find that the sugar preferences vary from person to person.  

I served my yogurt dish as the ending to a meal that was inspired from NPR story on the traditional Southern New Year’s food, Hoppin’ John.  This dish consists of black eyed peas and rice, but this NPR story was an Indian twist on Hoppin’ John.  Click here for the story and recipe.

I did make a few changes – I left out onions, curry leaves (did not have them), and added cauliflower for more veggies.  I also opted for cooking mine in the slow cooker on low for 7 hours during the watching of that awful(!) Hawkeye bowl game.

Eric and I made it out on New Year’s Eve for a couple hours.  We had dinner at Thai Flavors, in Des Moines, first and then headed over for dessert and nightcaps at Creme Cupcake in Des Moines.  If you live in the Des Moines area and have yet to visit Creme, you are missing out!  In the evenings they have a simple menu with a savory pizza, a few desserts, and plenty of delicious drinks to choose from.  

I chose the New Year’s sundae special, made from ice cream, hot fudge sauce, cake bits, caramel, and pecans.  Almost too pretty to eat!


Sweet Yogurt with Saffron– adapted from The Food of India, 1999

1. In a medium bowl mix: 2 cups plain yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon, and a generous drizzling of honey (enough to cover the top of the yogurt, see photo above).

2. In a small bowl, warm 2 tablespoons of milk or milk alternative.  Add a pinch of saffron strands and allow to soak for a few minutes.  Mix the saffron mixture into the yogurt mixture.

3.  Top with chopped hazelnuts and/or pistachios.  Serve chilled.  For a stronger flavor, mix this up the day before serving.

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