India is known for its rich culinary culture. As I had mentioned in my previous blog post that each state of India has its own unique cuisine. Indian sweets, also known as ‘mithai’ occupies an interesting element in the country’s history and culture. Our sweet tooth has given birth to many mouth-watering and delectable dessert options. The distinctive feature of Indian dessert is it’s mostly made up of milk. Condensed milk, cottage cheese, milk solids form an integral part of Indian sweets. Today’s post is regarding one such milk item which is a frozen dairy dessert originating in India in the 16th century. Its kulfi often described as ‘traditional Indian ice cream’! It’s similar to ice cream in appearance but has a distinct taste and texture. It comes in various flavours. So in this frozen dessert, one can witness a peaceful co-existence of tradition and fusion.
Kulfi is traditionally prepared by evaporating full-fat milk mixed with sugar by slow cooking, stirring continuously to prevent milk from sticking at the bottom, until its volume is reduced by a half. In this process, it gets thickened and the milk and sugar get slightly caramelized giving it that distinctive taste and colour as well. This mixture is then frozen in a sealed kulfi mould in the freezer.
As I have mentioned, kulfis are of different types and variations. Here, I have penned down a basic recipe with just 4 ingredients. No Milkmaid (condensed milk), no cream or milk solid was used and thus it’s a low-calorie version of the popular Indian dessert. Its light in nature and procedure is simple to follow.
To prepare this kulfi I have used full-fat milk. After reducing the volume of milk slightly, I had added cornflour to thicken the milk, sugar & milk powder. For flavour crushed green cardamom has been used and the nice and rich yellow colour is purely from authentic Kesar (saffron).
Difficulty Level: Easy
Preparation time: 15 min (approx)
Cooking time: Almost 1 hr
- Full fat milk- 1 lit
- Sugar- ½ cup
- Corn flour- 4 tbsp, dissolved in ¼ cup of milk
- Milk powder- ¼ cup+ 1 tbsp
- Green cardamom-5-6 nos, crushed
- Saffron- 6-7 strands, dissolved in a little hot milk
1. Boil milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. When it comes to a boil, keep it on low heat and keep stirring till it reduces to slightly more than half a quantity.
2. Dissolve cornflour in ¼ cup of milk and add to the milk.
3. Add milk powder and sugar and stir continuously. Add green cardamom and saffron dissolved in hot milk.
4. Keep it on slow flame till it thickens and the volume reduces to half a quantity.
5. Let it come to room temperature. Keep it covered to prevent skin formation on top.
6. When the mixture cools completely give it a nice stir and put it in the kulfi mould and close the lid tightly.
7. Keep it in the freezer for at least 7-8 hrs or overnight.
8. Take it out from freezer at least 5-10 min before serving. Put the mould under running water for 1- 2 seconds. Unmould the kulfi on a plate and cut into thick slices. Serve with finely chopped nuts (optional)
I observed that cream or condensed milk can be added to give it a creamier texture and it will definitely enhance the taste but at the same time will make it heavier.
Often I serve it with thickened milk as a topping which is called ‘rabri’. Actually, rabri is itself a very popular sweet in India.
This egg less Kesar kulfi is a delicious summer indulgence. It’s simple milk, milk powder, sugar and saffron but the taste will leave you craving for more.
To avoid ice crystals in kulfi, two things must be kept in mind. First, the milk should be thickened nicely to give the dessert a beautiful texture and secondly, put the mixture in the mould once it gets completely cold. These two steps are important to get the required perfection.
So follow this simple procedure with limited ingredients to pamper your sweet cravings and thank me later.