Kulfi Recipe (Pista Badam Kulfi) – Best Dessert for Bangalore Summer
Kulfi is a creamy, dense and rich frozen dessert from the Indian subcontinent, rightly called as the traditional Indian ice cream. This full-flavored dessert was introduced to India through a royal feast of Mughal Era; there are also certain entries about Kulfi in the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s Ain-i-Akbar. Since then Kulfi never failed to charm the taste buds of the food lovers in India. There is a particular season to relish Kulfi when the afternoons are prolonged and summery, the evenings are loaded with humidity in the air, and then is the right time to enjoy this particular dessert. Kulfi is one of those few good things about the scorching Indian summer that cheer up the sweating and sweltering souls.
Kulfi is traditionally prepared by evaporating, sweetened and flavorful, milk via slow cooking, with almost continuous stirring to keep milk from sticking to the bottom of the vessel. The distinctive taste of Kulfi comes from the long caramelization process of milk and sugar along with other aromatics that imprint their distinct aroma and flavors into the dessert. Then this semi-condensed mixture is frozen in airtight conical seal molds or in the Kulhads, the earthen potwares, which provide a distinct earthy rare savor to the dessert set in them. Kulfi, thus prepared via slow cooking and freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of ice crystals.
My early memories of Kulfi are that of an exclusive dessert that will make a well-ordered appearance post dinner during the summer vacations, rarely homemade. The sealed tins of Ram Prasad Ki Falooda Kulfi were a regular sweet affair in our joint family, every alternate day a fresh batch of Kulfi was regularly supplied to the house from Ram Prasad’s shop. And the elderly ladies of the house were responsible for keeping those empty Kulfi tins safe and sending them back to the Kulfi shop the next day. Lately, when we shifted to our new house as a nuclear family, it was no longer feasible to furnish ourselves with the uniform supply of Ram Prasad Falooda Kulfi, we quite happily shifted our Kulfi loyalties to those expensive branded ones but somehow our taste buds always longed for the Ram Prasad’s Kulfi. Now after years, I wonder why my mother was never keen on making Kulfi at home despite of being a proficient cook, as in my opinion it is an utterly simple dessert to prepare at home irrespective of lengthy cooking time.
There are many sweet shops in Bangalore offering a wide variety of sweets and delicious Kulfi throughout the year. Sweet shops in Bangalore are laced with traditional Karnataka sweets as well as sweets from across the country, sweets in Bangalore are truly a food lover’s delight. For this time, after tasting one spoonful of homemade Kulfi we unanimously declared it as one of my unparalleled creations and before the proportions fade out of my memory I noted down the recipe in my diary. Here is the no cornflour, no condensed milk Pista Badam Kulfi Recipe.
Kulfi is a creamy, dense and rich frozen dessert from the Indian subcontinent, rightly called as the traditional Indian ice cream.
1 litre full cream milk
200 gram khova/khoya/mawa, grated
¼ Cup regular white sugar or to taste
¼ Cup unsalted pistachio
¼ Cup almond
¼ tsp fennel seeds
3 – 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp ghee
3 – 4 strands of saffron (optional)
To make Kulfi, first in a blender grind sugar, pistachio, almond, fennel and half of cardamom pods to the powder. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Now in a heavy bottomed saucepan heat milk over low heat. Add remaining cardamom pods and saffron strands to the milk, keep on stirring the milk occasionally.
While the milk is simmering, start roasting khoya, in a heavy bottomed pan heat ghee over medium heat, add grated mawa and turn the flame to low.
On low flame stirring occasionally let mawa turn into light golden in color. At this stage mawa will leave it’s own ghee and start leaving sides of the pan, keep on stirring the mawa to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Once mawa turn pale golden in color, turn of the heat. Set it aside until it cools down.
Once mawa cools down mix in sugar and nuts powder to the mawa. Using your fingers mix all the ingredients nicely crumbling to a coarse texture powder.
Now add the mawa and sugar mixture into the milk, stir nicely to evenly combine the mawa and the milk.
Keep on stirring the liquid mixture in the saucepan at regular intervals over the low heat.
Once the milk is reduced to almost half in quantity, turn off the heat. Let the kulfi mixture cool down to room temperature.
Pour the liquid into the Kulfi moulds or in an airtight stainless steel or plastic box.
Set Kulfi in the freezer for 6 – 8 hours or best overnight.
To serve, scoop out Kulfi into the serving balls or to unmould the Kulfi, allow the
moulds to remain outside the refrigerator or rubbing between the palms for few seconds, then unmould by inserting a wooden skewer stick and pulling it out.
Garnish with fine chopped pistachios and almonds, serve chilled.