x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

I'd go to ends of the Earth for shrikhand

A good shrikhand, like Ma used to make, is worth the trip every time.

The word "shrikhand" transports me back to my mother's kitchen. There's a raggedy green scarf knotted up like a stork's bundle. It levitates in solitude, with one tenuous end lodged against the pantry door. The bundle is stuffed with yogurt and weeps whey tears into a steel bowl on the kitchen counter. Hours later, Ma would unfurl a ball of thick, strained curd from the scarf. With a wooden spoon and a practised hand, she would combine the white globe with sugar, saffron and cardamom to make one of the creamiest Indian desserts there ever was: shrikhand.

It was only earlier this year I finally found shrikhand that tasted like Ma's version.

Shamsudheen at Sreeraj Lassi Bar infuses his shrikhand with handmade love. He even sets his own fresh yogurt in earthen pots. The end result is a lush dessert that hits an astringent twang inside your cheeks and echoes with chords of saffron and cardamom in subtle, scented harmony. I'd recommend ordering in puris from a nearby restaurant: tear off a piece of the steaming, hollow sphere of deep-fried dough, use it to scoop up the shrikhand and scale the peak of complex dessert decadence - salty, sweet, creamy, crispy and saffron-infused - all in one bite.

I've formed a personal bond with Shamsudheen. He'll often call me when he makes a fresh batch. When the traffic in Meena Bazaar dampens my enthusiasm, he strolls out to the main road and delivers my order to me. This is how communities used to work in Ma's heyday. She knew the butcher, the baker, the grocer. And they knew her. That personal touch is something I rarely find these days, but when I do, I'll go to the ends of Old Dubai to savour every creamy spoonful of it.

Sreeraj Lassi Bar, 04 353 0800 / 050 369 7393 / 055 247 4500, Esbij Street, is located between Sind Punjab and Astoria Hotel in Bur Dubai

Arva Ahmed, the blogger behind www.iliveinafryingpan.com, writes about ethnic eats in Old Dubai.