Our culinary travel this month of December finds us in the Himalayas, specifically Nepal.
Originally, I had it in mind to come up with an interesting twist on the “momo”, a Nepalese steamed dumpling with a meat or vegetable filling, wildly popular and sold on the streets. What about a sweet dumpling filling and call it dessert? My first attempt at this idea was a complete failure, but I still liked the idea and decided I’d work on this for the next time we visit Nepal in April 2016. So I’ve got time to get this right!
But since it’s December, and I’m thinking you were never going to take the time to make dumplings anyway, how about a recipe that is easy to whip up, with ingredients that don’t demand several trips to different stores and is delicious as well? I’ve got you covered!
While on paper this recipe may look like nothing more than a dish of sweet yogurt, I assure you it’s more than that. Make it overnight so that the spices will have time to bloom and really perfume the yogurt. And don’t even think about using low-fat, or heaven forbid, non-fat products. The creamy lush mouth-feel is what this dish is all about. The pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios really complete this dessert by adding a bit of texture and crunch.
And since it is December, I would advise that a platter of your favorite Christmas cookies would be a splendid accompaniment.
Nepalese Sweetened Yogurt (Sikarni) (Tested)
Serves 8 to 10
3 cups plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper, about 1/8 tsp
5 green cardamom pods, crushed, seeds removed and saved
Put the yogurt into a bowl and add the sour cream, sugar, spices and cardamom seeds. Beat until light and creamy. Place in the refrigerator overnight to firm up a bit. Serve chilled in your prettiest glasses, garnished with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
Just for fun, I’ve included a two-minute video on how to seed a pomegranate. Using fresh seeds is so much better than purchasing those tubs of seeds from the market. This method was new to me, so I thought I would share with you all, plus, he’s kind of adorable!
Recipe adapted from: http://nepalicooking.tripod.com/dessert.htm#Sikarni
Photo credit: Linda McElroy