What is kulfi ice cream dessert?
What is kulfi ice cream dessert? This is kulfi – a sweet treat from India and surrounding countries, it’s been popular for a long, long time. In this picture, it’s within a matka: a traditional pot often used to freeze the kulfi itself.
You’ve likely heard of kulfi, but do you know everything that you could about it? Read on to find out everything that we know about the mysterious treat.
Kulfi is an Indian dessert that’s been popular since it was first made in the sixteenth century. Essentially, it’s a type of ice cream, though made in a way that’s quite dissimilar to what we would consider ice cream in a lot of other places. Therefore, it’s usually considered something that, while similar, is different fundamentally.
It’s really popular in India!
Though it has truly made its way around the world! It’s really easy to make, which means that a lot of cultures have found the recipe and made it their own. It’s associated with India (of course), as well as: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The dish itself originated in the Mughal empire, as an evolution of a style of cooking that was already popular at the time. Evaporated milk was often used as a key ingredient in sweet dishes at the time, leading to this dish being made by some innovative cooks.
Evaporated milk would have been flavored with any number of different herbs and spices, though pistachios and saffron were likely used in particular.
Once the mixture was created, it would be packed into a freezing vessel, and put into slurry ice – a mixture of ice and salt which can achieve temperatures as low as minus twenty celsius! It froze quickly in the slurry ice, which led to the creation of kulfi.
Ice would typically be bought from the Himalayas, and instead of salt, saltpeter would often be used. This means that during the Mughal empire, the dish was likely reserved for the rich.
What does kulfi taste like?
Well, it’s quite different from western ice cream.
Western ice cream is frozen using a similar slurry ice solution, though it is whipped (or churned) during the freezing process. This means that ice crystals form in the liquid from the extremely cool vessel, before being whipped into the mixture and combined with air and liquid. Once the maximum amount of ice crystals have been formed, the mixture will be ice cream.
Kulfi, though, is frozen solid. This means that it melts more slowly (which makes sense in a warm country like India) and that it is particularly dense. It’s also quite a lot creamier than ice cream, thanks to the use of evaporated milk over cream and whole milk.
Plain kulfi is sweet, creamy, and milky – as it is essentially frozen custard but made solely from evaporated milk. This flavor can be a little dull, though, so it is often sweetened and flavored with any number of fruits and syrups. Traditional flavors include rose, mango, and ginger, while more modern flavors include apple, orange, or even peanut!
How to use kulfi
Kulfi is typically used in the precise way that you might expect it to be used – as a dessert after a large meal.
A number of people will understand the sensation of eating a large meal and simply feeling… heavy. The idea that you’ve had two or three courses and that you’re pressed down into your seat. Well, sweet, cool dessert enables you to get the boost of sugar and reduce your temperature enough to push you out of your seat and get to your bed, while a hot dessert or another course might send you to sleep in your seat.
Kulfi serves that role for a number of people – something cheap, sweet, and tasty that will give them a little boost of energy after they’ve finished their dinner. It can also be used to cool down on a hot day, as with ice cream from a van or truck in a theme park.
Where can you get kulfi?
As it’s simple and easy to make, kulfi can usually be bought at any number of different places nearby to you!
For a great price, we’d recommend checking out local grocery store chains. They likely have supplies who make the frozen treat, allowing them to price it well and give you a great deal.
However, for the tastiest kulfi around, we would recommend getting in touch with a nearby Indian restaurant. As it’s so simple, it’s likely that they make their kulfi in-house, and if they don’t, then it’s likely they know someone who does. You might pay a little extra for the premium quality of the Kulfi, but it’s something that is certainly worth doing if you’re looking for the best quality kulfi you can find.
Something we would avoid doing is looking online for someone that might ship kulfi to you. As it’s a frozen treat, it would likely be ruined in some way by the time it got to you – avoid those options.
How to make kulfi
Making kulfi is very simple indeed. As with ice cream, you start with dairy and flavor it to your liking. This is typically done with sugar for sweetness and fruit or nuts for flavors. In a more modern, industrial setting, flavored syrups would likely be used.
The flavored milk is then slow-cooked while being stirred almost continuously to prevent it from sticking to the cooking utensil or the tub that it’s being cooked within.
During the cooking process, the milk condenses and thickens. This slow cooking process helps to caramelize the sugar within the milk, leading to kulfi’s unique taste and texture.
After cooking, the mixture is poured into molds and sealed, which are, in turn, submerged within special pots (called matkas) that are filled with ice and salt. This cool substance quickly freezes the mixture, giving it a soft, smooth consistency.
The kulfi is typically removed from the freezer ten to fifteen minutes before serving, to allow it to melt a little.