A few weeks back, over lunch, while eating kulfi bought from a local sweet shop, my mother told me about this kulfi she had made when my dad was posted at Bidar, almost 27 years back or so. She remembered it as the best kulfi she had eaten or ever made. She said it was every bit creamy and even though she had lost the original recipe, she remembered that she had added whole wheat flour to the mix. She remembered a few other key ingredients as well and I used that as the starting point for a google search of that recipe.
A few link clicks and I stumbled on this site which had a version of kulfi quite similar to what my mother remembers her recipe to be. With a little tweaks, after consulting with my mom, I set out to make homemade saffron pistachio kulfi in the slow cooker.
I have posted a kulfi recipe before- mango kulfi, the recipe for which an aunt of V’s gave me. That recipe uses evaporated milk, condensed milk, heavy cream and mango puree to get a super easy fix of homemade kulfi. This time I thought I will try a slightly different method and use ingredients that are easily available everywhere.
Kulfi, for those of you who might not be aware, is a popular Indian frozen dessert, quite similar to ice cream but a little denser than ice cream. A different cooking style is used than traditional ice cream, where sweetened and flavored milk is slowly cooked and reduced to half its original quantity. The slow cooking of milk with sugar leads to its caramelization lending a distinctive flavor to the kulfi. It also results in a solid frozen dessert that takes longer to melt than traditional ice cream.
I would have posted this recipe last week, but some technical issues resulted in the delay and my absence from the blog for the past few days. But here I am with the recipe today.
My mom had told me she had added mawa/khoya (milk cheese) as well, just like this recipe calls for, but since the guy we get mawa from had gone to his village (and since I know lot of people who stay in the US do not have access to khoya/mawa all the time), I decided to make the kulfi without using mawa and getting the right consistency with just milk. Since its too hot to stand in the kitchen the whole day to thicken milk, I decided to use the slow cooker to get the right consistency for kulfi. And I think it was a brilliant idea.
While making the kulfi mixture, I stumbled on a good and super easy saffron milk recipe that would be great during winters. I will probably do a post on it soon, but the recipe is very much similar to the recipe that I am sharing today, just that you do not freeze the mixture unlike we will be doing for the kulfi recipe.
I have used whole wheat flour, which absorbs extra moisture, lending a creamy texture to the kulfi, but my mom says you can also use bread crumbs to get a similar result.
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour (or use arrowroot powder, which works great and is gluten free also)
- 1 litre milk
- ½ can of condensed milk (you can increase the condensed milk quantity to more than half a can if you prefer a little more sweetness)
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- few strands saffron
- few drops of kewra essence (optional)
- ¼ cup pistachio, roughly pounded plus extra for topping
- Mix 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour in 100 ml of milk. Mix well and set aside.
- Boil remaining milk with cardamom powder, saffron strands and pistachio, and the milk-whole wheat mixture. Remove from heat and transfer mixture into a slow cooker.
- Add the condensed milk. And stir well.
- Cook on high, UNCOVERED, for 4-5 hours, stirring in between. (Do not put the lid on because you want the milk to evaporate and thicken.)
- After 5 hours, transfer the thick mixture into a blender and churn to make a smooth paste. Let cool to room temperature and place blender in freezer for 1-2 hours till the mixture starts to freeze around the edges. Remove and blend once again, and pour into your kulfi moulds. Top with ground pistachio. Cover well with foil.
- Let set for 5-6 hours till firm.