Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking (1994 ed.), p. 194. Ice Cream with Nuts (Kulfi)
As far as I can remember, we never made kulfi
at home. This may well have been because it was served always to hundreds of people at wedding banquets. Only a professional kulfi-wallah
could be entrusted with such a monstrous task. Orders were placed with him weeks in advance. On the day of the banquet, he arrived with assistants, usually his sons and brothers, carrying enormous earthenware vats. The vats were set up somewhere outdoors, usually at the edge of a vast lawn. Each vat contained lots of broken ice and, embedded in the ice, hundreds of tube-shaped terracotta containers filled with kulfi
. Every now and then the kulfi-wallah
would ease his arm into the vats and give its contents a knowing swish. We were never allowed to ask for a kulfi
until the main meal, set up under brightly appliqued tents, had finished. Kulfi
is not difficult to make at home as I have discovered in the years that I have been deprived of local kulfi-wallahs
. All you need is an adequate freezer. (If you have an ice-cream machine, you may use it for kulfi
is not made with cream but with reduced milk. It helps to have a very heavy pan with an even distribution of heat for boiling down the milk. A heavy, non-stick pan would also do.
2 litres (3 1/2 pints 20 oz. English pints!
10 cardamom pods
4-5 tablespoons sugar
15g (1/2 oz) chopped, blanced almonds
25g (1 oz) chopped, unsalted pistachios
Bring the milk to the boil in a heavy pan. As soon as the milk begins to rise, turn the heat down, adjusting it vigorously without boiling over. Add the cardamom pods. The milk has to reduce to about a third of its original amount, that is, to about 750ml (1 1/2 English pints). Stir frequently as this happens. Whenever a film forms on top of the milk, just stir it in. When the milk has reduced, remove the cardamom pods and discard them. Add the sugar and almonds. Stir and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Pour the reduced milk into a bowl and let it cool completely. Add half of the pistachios and stir them in. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. (If you have an ice-cream machine, you could empty the contents of the bowl into the machine and get it going.)
Put 6 small, individual cups, empty yoghurt cartons, or a 900ml (1 1/2 English pint) pudding basin into the freezer.
Every 15 minutes or so, remove the ice-cream bowl from the freezer and give the ice cream a good stir in order to break up the crystals. As the ice cream begins to freeze, it will become harder and harder to stir it. When it becomes almost impossible to stir, take the containers out of the freezer. Work quickly now. Divide the ice cream between the cups or empty it into the pudding basin. Sprinke the remaining pistachios over the top. Cover the cups or basin with aluminum foil, crinkling the edges to seal them. Put into the freezer and let the ice cream harden.
We had some "brilliant" (Hubby's English) kulfi
at the Sitar India Palace in Durham, NC. Fabulous Indian food in general, as we recall. They had wonderful onion bhajis and dhosas in particular.
Anyway, at the other end of the scale, there's an Indian place in Catonsville, Maryland, west of Baltimore whose name escapes me, with adequate food on cheap tables with soda in cans, who served pistachio ice cream from the grocery store instead of kulfi