- Spice or Fruit Flavored Frozen Indian Dessert
by Renee Shelton
eating the frozen dessert 'Kulfi' knows it is quite
unlike anything tasted before. First of all, it is
usually spiced with cardamom or saffron or another
unexpected spice, and while it is creamy like an ice
cream, it is served like a popsicle - usually eaten
from a stick.
is not churned like a traditional ice cream or stirred
like a granité: it is just mixed and poured
into molds. My favorite way is to just use paper cups
or parchment cornets. These for some reason are the
favorite ways for my kids to eat them (there is something
about peeling paper to give way to the sweet cold
dessert they find irresistible and makes them special).
Stainless steel molds work great as it seems to freeze
the kulfi faster. Other molds: standard popsicle molds
or stainless steel molds. Ateco's
tall baba molds are a great size and clean up
of the first places I read about kulfi was from Madhur
Jaffrey's Indian Cooking where she describes
in a paragraph how she remembers eating it as a child.
I can close my eyes even now and envision a hot summer
afternoon sitting outdoors after a large family gathering
eating fresh kulfi made by a kulfi-wallah (catered
professional kulfi maker).
Her recipe, as with many others, calls for the milk to be reduced
and the sugar stirred in afterwards. I do it a little differently
where I add the sugar with the milk in the beginning and reduce
them together, although if you add it afterwards you have
total control of the sweetness and add in just the amount
of sugar you need at that particular time.
is often flavored with cardamom, either ground up or as pods
that are used to infuse the milk before being removed prior
to freezing. The two nuts that are often used either separately
or together are almond and pistachio. When ordering kulfi look
at the name to know what the flavor is: Pista Kulfi (pistachio),
Badam Kulfi (almond), Mango Kulfi, Saffron Kulfi, Kulfi Falooda/Falouda
(assorted flavored and served with, yes, vermicelli noodles),
and the list goes on. I've even seen menus with 'Drambuie'
and 'Maple Syrup' Kulfi (from the Gourmet
Kama Restaurant in the UK).
Do a keyword search for 'kulfi recipe' and you'll get a wide
range of results and methods of preparation. Some are cooked
for long periods of time to either reduce the milk or to cook
a starch for thickening. Or the recipe is virtually instant
where you just mix some ingredients together and freeze. The
first time I made kulfi I cooked the down the milk with cardamom
and sugar and when the mixture was cooled, I almost ate the
entire batch of thickened sweetened spiced milk before it
even reached the freezer, it was so amazing.
those of you who have had this before, either by ordering
it in a restaurant, purchasing it ready-frozen, having at
a relative's or friend's house or making it yourself, below
are some ideas that you can use for making it next time. For
those of you who haven't yet tried it, below are tested recipes
for you make kulfi at home. Use one or more of the spices
or flavorings from the list below for your next batch.
- The Main Ingredients (Milk, Khoya/Mawa, Other Ingredients)
begins with some sort of dairy product. The basic recipes
call for taking an amount of whole milk and bringing it to
a boil and reducing it, often infusing it while it is cooking
with a spice. Sometimes a dry milk powder is added for making
a richer kulfi. The best authentic online recipe I've found
is here, copied word for word from a professional kulfi-wallah:
No recipes are needed here, just follow the ratios and percentages
to whatever milk you have on hand.
time is cut short but you still want that thickened, rich
texture for the milk, so an item like cornstarch/cornflour,
ground up white rice, unflavored gelatin, torn up fresh bread
or fresh bread crumbs are added or cooked and mixed into the
are of the 'instant' types, where heavy cream is often stirred
with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Still,
other recipes will faithfully use a non-dairy whipped topping
like kool-whip, that has been thawed and stirred with evaporated
and sweetened condensed milk.
Of the traditional recipes, mawa or khoya is often used. Mawa or khoya is a thickened, reduced milk
product, and is used in many different Indian sweets and Indian
dessert recipes. Many recipes simply call for using evaporated
milk and/or sweetened condensed milk instead of reducing the
milk or adding khoya. For a recipe to make khoya or mawa at
home if you have a kulfi recipe that calls for it, my favorite
website resource is 'Mamta's Kitchen' which has four different ways to make the khoya/mawa, two
with pictures of the product being cooked. There are several
kinds of mawa/khoya recipes:
Kulfi - The Spices and Flavorings
spices and flavorings that often show up on a kulfi menu:
green or white cardamom (ground or pods for infusing the
milk and removed before freezing), saffron, vanilla
flowers: for infusing the hot milk
water: a few drops added before freezing, or for sprinkling
on as a garnish before serving
pistachios (chopped or ground), almonds (chopped or ground),
cashews (chopped or ground). All nuts that are used are usually
unsalted, untoasted, or blanched.
mango, lychee, banana, pineapple, apricots. Fruits are often
pureed and stirred in before freezing or dried and chopped
fine and stirred in before freezing, depending on the texture
powdered coconut milk is used, but also desicated dried
use the lemon zest or add to the pureed fruits
Making - Tips
few, but important ones:
you have an insane sweet tooth, understand that the more
sugar is added the softer the frozen kulfi will be.
with all liquid as the kulfi freezes, it will expand. Allow
for expansion when pouring into molds.
you are cooking the milk down, it is very helpful to use
a wide pot with a large surface area to reduce the milk
when cooking down the milk: stir it frequently and watch
it constantly. It will bubble up. Adding sugar will help keep scalding down, but any milk left unattended will burn.
Use anything on hand for a kulfi mold. If a traditional mold
for kulfi isn't available, the Ateco tall baba molds (see photos above and below) are
great sizes to use.
in Tall Baba Mold
use your popsicle molds, paper disposable cups or handmade cornets
made from parchment paper (see far left and below). When inserting the
popsicle stick into homemade molds, allow the kulfi to freeze
until it is firm but not solid and slip it down the center.
If using paper molds, simply peel and serve when they are frozen.
If the molds are even, flat and sturdy, covering them with
aluminum foil will allow the sticks to be centered while the
mixture is still liquid: the foil will hold the stick in place
while it is freezing.
Kulfi can be made in any shaped molds you have available, or ones you make.
Kulfi - Recipes for Kulfi
are two tested recipes of mine to try, one uses cooked milk
reduction as the base and the other is instant, just stir,
pour and freeze. Both have cardamom as the spice flavoring.
Kulfi (Almond Kulfi)
All recipes were tested in Beach Cuisine, Inc kitchens and all pictures used here were shot by us.
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