When the ice cream truck come ding-a-ling down the street it makes my heart sing along. It kindles sweet childhood memories filled with ice creams sold on streets. There were vendors selling different brands of ice creams ringing a musical bell and charming all the kids. I can recollect our school yard and a vendor with an ice box having an inner chamber with tubes of white milk ice cream on small bamboo sticks. We crowd around him during break time and spend our pocket money happily on those chilled sweetness melting on our tongues. It was after some time I came across other ice cream flavours and much later ice cream cakes that can be sliced.
Long before that, Mogul rulers in India prepared a special ice cream called Kulfi. It is a milk based dessert made with very distinct flavors. Kulfi is different from modern style ice creams as it has less air whipped into it. It is thicker and more of a custard with saffron providing it a soft yellow color. If you do not have an ice cream maker, kulfi can be a fantastic homemade frozen cream treat.
Kulfi has a combination of 3 types of milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream. It could be called a tres leches ice cream. All the milks are mixed and boiled well with sugar and corn flour paste. The special flavoring is by the addition of cardamom and saffron. Dried fruits and nuts are also used to enhance its taste. It is cooled and poured in molds and frozen.
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tin condensed milk
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- few saffron strands
- 2 tbsp chopped nuts -pistachio and almonds
- Heat milk in a non stick pan on medium heat stirring frequently.
- As it warms up add cream and condensed milk and boil.
- Simmer it until it gets fairly thick.
- Soak saffron strands in a little warm milk.
- Add cardamom powder and saffron including the milk used for soaking.
- Mix corn flour in a little water and add to the milk mixture.
- Stir well and add the nuts and cook for 2 minutes.
- Cool it and pour into a metal container and freeze for 4 hours.
- Remove from freezer and use a whisk it to break crystals.
- Pour it into molds and freeze for 4 hours.
- Remove from the mold and serve it or cut it into slices.
Pour warm water around the mold or dip the mold in warm water to remove Kulfi from mold. Normally, it is garnished with pistachio, saffron and cardamom. It can be sliced into pieces and served with falooda, a sweet rose flavored vermicelli.
Kulfi is made in traditional flavors, including pista, rose, mango, cardamom, almond (badam), saffron (kesar) and also in newer variations like apple, orange and avocado.
Kulfi can be eaten like a Popsicle when poured into a paper cup with a stick in the center. To do this, pour Kulfi into a paper cup and cover with a piece of foil. Make a slit in the center of the foil and insert the Popsicle stick and set it to freeze. After it freezes tear off the paper cup and enjoy the Kulfi on a stick. It is a special treat tantalizing the taste buds! This rich frozen dessert is a pleasant addition to any meal to cool us down in Summer. Keep cool!