April 30th, 2013
Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream)
For those of you who grew up in India in the 80s and 90s, I dont have to try hard to revive memories of this exquisite ice cream. This was a time when a plethora of different flavours of ice cream was not yet available in the Indian markets and since the economy was not yet liberalized, there was no chance of savouring the taste of the many foreign brands of ice cream that are now available.
To me, kulfi meant summer holidays, playing in the garden and taking a walk alongside the lush green fields in my paternal hometown only to get back and relish it with my cousins. I still remember how I had to face my cousins ire when I interrupted an intense game of cricket saying the kulfi that my aunt was making was ready, only for them to be back and discover that the moulds had just gone into the freezer and they had to wait a few more hours to enjoy it.
Cut to the present, when I looked for kulfi in the many hotels and stores, I was met with extreme disappointment with the watery and overtly sweet hard pieces of rock like ice cream that were being passed off as kulfi. It was nothing reminiscent of the soft, creamy wonder which was delicately spices and moderately sweetened so that it doesnt overpower the subtle aromas of the spices, that I remembered growing up with. It was further dejection when the kulfi served in the best Indian restaurant in town did not have the taste nor the flavours of yore.
So, when I had a group of friends over to watch Hari’s birthday video, I decided to treat them with this marvel. And it was just right for the searing Mumbai heat and humidity! I resorted to an old recipe which was tried and tested and had tasted marvelous when I had made “kulfi” years ago.
The secret to making good kulfi is using good quality ingredients and the right amount of caramelization of milk. This kulfi is soft and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness to it. The cardamom and nutmeg if adding add exotic highlights and the finely chopped pistachios add colour and texture while balancing the flavours (kids might like it without the nuts though). My friends did enjoy the kulfi and as expected so did my husband! But, what came as a surprise was my little Hari! The way he relished it made all my efforts of my midnight kulfi mixture seem worthwhile.
Kulfi (Creamy Indian Ice Cream) Recipe
2 liters (8 cups) milk (preferably full cream
1 can condensed milk
1 cup milk powder
4 tbsp sugar (optional-use only if you want it a little more sweet)
1/4 nutmeg powdered
10 to 12 cardamom pods, powdered
pistachios, crushed (for garnishing)
In a heavy bottomed pot or pan, mix in the milk, condensed milk and milk powder and cook on low heat for about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring in between to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and caramelizes and gets that lovely kulfi flavour.
In a small bowl pour a ladle of the mixture and mix in the cardamom and nutmeg and make a smooth paste. Sir in the paste into the kulfi mixture. If used directly the cardamom forms lumps which makes it difficult to disintegrate into a homogenous mixture.
Allow to cool and pour into kulfi moulds. If you do not have kulfi moulds, pour into shot glasses and when the mixture is half frozen, about 30 minutes, insert a stick into it. Chill overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.
This quantity gave me 12 medium sized kulfis and 5 small ones with little bowls.