Kulfi, or unchurned Indian ice cream (without eggs), is a summer must have that you can whip up at home without an ice cream maker. It’s rich and creamy made with pure milk (traditionally & the milk is boiled down to reduce to half its amount), and it’s usually full of nuts in some form. The most common flavors are malai (plain), badam (almond), Elaichi(cardamom), jafrani(saffron) and pistachio. The nuts and the flavors are added to the reduced milk, boiled for some more time, cooled and put in moulds & frozen. Kulfi is traditionally sold on the street in India, in terracotta molds (matkas) that impart their own beautiful flavor. The dish is of Pakistani or may be even Iranian origin brought to India during the Mughal rule.
There is one place in Kolkata called “Ralli’s” where during the peak summer heat people stream inside to sit under the cool whirring fans and eat the Kulfi with the famous Ralli’s Syrup. A lot of our courtship days many years back had been in one of these benches… A lot of love & looks shared over a plate of shared Kulfi (we were not rich enough during our college days to buy 2). The people sitting around did not bother us, neither did the heat. It was a love affair, us & the kulfi too.
So it is only fair that we should still be enjoying it and we really do, both of us. Only here there is no Ralli’s. This is my quick way (using the items from grocery stores ), I found to make the Kulfis. When it comes to parties, this is the easiest dessert to make. It only involves buying the right ingredients, putting them in blender and freeze. Believe me, it tastes like the original. The best thing about it is, this can be prepared quite a few days before you decide to serve it. What can get easier than that?
This makes about 20 -24 kulfis in the small kiddie popsicle makers.
1 pt (16 FL oz) Half and Half or Evaporated Milk
16 oz Cool Whip (Whipped Cream Topping)
¼ cup of warm milk
1/2 cup skim milk
2 slices of White Bread with the sides cut off
6-7 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup of almonds soaked and peeled
1/2 cup of Shelled Pistachios
1 Teaspoon of Saffron Threads
6 Green Elaichi(cardamoms) shelled
Kiddie Plastic Popsicle makers
For Faluda and Syrup:
2 packs Falooda Sev ( this is particular kind of vermicilli/noodles available at the Indian/Asian Grocery)
Rooh Afza Red Rose Syrup or any other Rose Syrup (Available at the Indian/Asian Grocery)
Soak almonds overnight and peel them.
Peel the cardamoms and take out the seeds. Soak the cardamom seeds & the saffron threads in the warm milk for an hour.
Coarsely grind the pistachios. Set aside.
Add all the ingredients (except the Pistachios) in the Blender and blend. You might have to do this in 2 batches to prevent overflow when you blend.
Pour carefully in the Popsicle makers. Take little bit of pistachios in each Popsicle and gently stir it in the crème mix. Freeze.
Before serving run warm water over the Popsicle makers to loosen the kulfi and gently take them out.
Follow the instructions on the packet. Boil water and add the Falooda Sev to it. Let it stay soaked for a few minutes till they are soft and edible.
Drain it and wash it with ice cold water and pour few spoons of the Rooh Afza Syrup to the Falooda.
Spoon Falooda in to individual dishes. Put Kulfi on the falooda sev and add more syrup on top of the kulfi. Garnish with almond and pistachios.
This tastes best if prepared 3-4 days in advance. The flavors of saffron & cardamom is absorbed bettter when it is allowed to sit for a few days.