Kulfi or Qulfi is a popular frozen dairy dessert of Pakistan. It is often described as "traditional Pakistani ice-cream.
Kulfi has similarities to ice cream 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 ice-cream.
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
- 4 cups milk
- 8 tsp. sugar or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. ground green cardamom seeds (chotti elaichi)
- 1tbsp. skinned pista (pistachios), thinly sliced
- 1tbsp. skinned badam (almonds), finely ground (optional)
Preparation of kulfi recipe :Put the milk into a wide, heavy pan and bring to boil over high heat, stiring constantly.
Now lower the heat and cook the milk, stirring constantly, until it has thickened and reduced to about 13/4th cups. (This will take about 40-45 minutes). Stir the sides of the pan constantly to avoid scalding.
Now add the sugar, nuts and cardamom seeds, stir well, allow to cool.
Pour the mixture into Kulfi molds or small ramekins, distributing evenly. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and freeze until set, about 6 hours.
To serve, remove the ice-cream from the molds by running a sharp knife around the edges of the pista kulfi. Slip each kulfi on to a dessert plate, cut across into 3-4 slices, and serve.
Traditionally in Pakistan, 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 frozen onto a stick. It can be garnished with pistachios, cardamom and similar.. Popular flavors include pistachio, mango, vanilla, and rose. Kulfi is also widely available in restaurants.It is also serve in weddings these days.