Origin Place of origin North India Region or state Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and other North Indian regions Dish details Main ingredient(s) Milk
Kulfi or Qulfi (Hindi-Urdu: क़ुल्फ़ी or قلفی) is a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian Subcontinent. It is often described as "traditional Indian Subcontinent ice-cream". It is popular throughout neighboring countries in Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma (Myanmar), and even the Middle East. Kulfi is also widely available in Indian restaurants in Europe, East Asia and North America.
Kulfi has similarities to ice cream (as popularly understood) in appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier.
It comes in various flavours, including cream (malai), raspberry, rose, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar or zafran), and pistachio, the more traditional flavours, as well as newer variations like apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and avocado. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.
Just like any other culture exposed to snow and ice, some people living in the Indian Subcontinent, especially those living high in the Himalayas, would have stumbled upon the technique of freezing various sweetened liquids, thus turning them into frozen desserts. These privileges were limited to the aristocracy until modern day refrigeration technology reached the Subcontinent.
Kulfi was traditionally prepared by evaporating sweetened and flavored milk by slow cooking, with almost continuous stirring to keep milk from sticking to the bottom of the vessel where it might burn, until its volume was reduced by a half, thus thickening it, increasing its fat, protein and lactose density. It has a distinctive taste due to caramelization of lactose and sugar during the lengthy cooking process. The semi-condensed mix is then frozen in tight sealed molds (often kulhars with their mouths sealed) that are then submerged in ice mixed with salt to speed up the freezing process. The ice/salt mix, along with its submerged kulfi molds, is placed in earthen pots or matkas that provide insulation from the external heat and slow down the melting of ice. Kulfi prepared in this manner is hence called 'Matka Kulfi'. Kulfi, thus prepared by slow freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of water crystallization.
More recently Kulfi is prepared from evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy (double) cream. Then sugar is added and the mixture is further boiled and cornstarch-water paste is added. This paste thickens the mixture, although it is boiled for an additional few minutes. Then flavourings, dried fruits, cardamom, etc. are added. The mixture is then cooled, put in moulds and frozen. If frozen in individual-portion custard bowls for service with a spoon, bowls are removed from the freezer 10–15 minutes before serving to allow for melting at the edges.
It is garnished with ground cardamom, saffron, or pistachio nuts. Kulfi is also served with faloodeh (vermicelli noodles made from starch). In some places, people make it at home and make their own flavors.
Traditionally in India, kulfi is sold by vendors called kulfiwallahs who keep the kulfi frozen by placing the moulds inside a large earthenware pot called a "matka", filled with ice and salt. It is served on a leaf or frozen onto a stick. It can be garnished with pistachios, cardamom and similar. Often it is served as Falooda Kulfi which is kulfi with rice noodles, rose syrup and other ingredients. Popular flavors include pistachio, mango, vanilla, and rose.
- ^ a b Caroline Liddell, Robin Weir, Frozen Desserts: The Definitive Guide to Making Ice Creams, Ices, Sorbets, Gelati, and Other Frozen Delights, Macmillan, 1996, ISBN 9780312143435, http://books.google.com/books?id=GCv8bPNMTNUC, "... Kulfi is the traditional Indian ice cream and has a strongly characteristic cooked-milk flavour and dense icy texture. ... The basis of making kulfi is to reduce a large volume of milk down to a very small concentrated amount ..."
- ^ Lulu Grimes, Cook's Book of Everything, Murdoch Books, 2009, ISBN 9781741960334, http://books.google.com/books?id=HDZnI9jVsuAC, "... This simple, elegant ice cream from India is made by boiling milk until it reduces and condenses, then flavouring it with ingredients such as cardamom and pistachio nuts or almonds. Kulfi is traditionally set in cone-shaped ..."
- ^ a b Matthew Kenney, Entertaining in the Raw, Gibbs Smith, 2009, ISBN 9781423602088, http://books.google.com/books?id=-FyT4yf6Q3AC, "... Kulfi is an lndian-style ice cream that is richer and creamier than regular ice cream, due to the lack of air that is whipped into traditional ice cream to make it lighter. The milk, traditionally from buffalo ..."
- ^ BBC kulfi recipe
- ^ Kulfi Flavoured Frozen Indian Ice Cream
- ^ Mamta Gupta recipe
- Indian desserts
- Ice cream
- Frozen desserts
- Rajasthani cuisine
- Gujarati cuisine
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