“Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”
Here’s an ice-cream with a difference…an Indian dairy-based frozen dessert. Guess what? You don’t need an ice-cream machine for this!! This is a popular end to Indian meals, a rich & creamy ice-cream, which can be made in many ways, & many flavours. Mango is fast becoming a flavour of choice as far as the kulfi goes, but traditional flavours remain cardamom, saffron & pistachio. This particular recipe works with reducing the quantity of milk to a third by cooking. Another recipe I often use has condensed milk…faster & as delicious. I tried this method since I had run out of condensed milk .
Crushing cardamom is therapeutic & releases the most wonderful aroma…makes me think of Jasmine, the Cardamom Addict.

Both my hub & son are quite addicted to cardamom…my daughter, on the other hand, will willingly have anything sweet…anything!! The kids have just finished the last of my frozen kulfis & are now in lala land. The daughter is off for a school trip at 4 tomorrow morning. The 7th graders are going for an adventure camp tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas…‘The Himalayan Bear Stream Camp’ . She’s driven me up the beanpole with the lists of stuff she has to carry, & I have to bake or get together. I gave her some kulfi…& told her to CHILL!!

Kulfi is a popular flavoured frozen dessert found in the Indian subcontinent made with milk. It is a kind of ice cream. It is a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Unlike other ice-cream, kulfi takes a very long time to melt. It comes in various flavours, including pistachio, malai, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar), the more traditional flavours. Unlike Western ice cream, which are whipped and filled with air, kulfi is not whipped, which results in a solid, dense frozen dessert. Traditionally in the South Asia, kulfi is sold by street 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 garnished with ground cardamom, saffron, or pistachio nuts. Kulfi is also served with faloodeh (vermicelli noodles).

Saffron Kulfi
Home made ice-cream, rich & distinctive
As adapted from the ‘Indian Menu Planner’
Whole milk – 1 litre / 4 1/2 cups
Cardamom seeds – of 8-10 cardamom pods / crushed
Saffron – 1/2 tsp
Flaked pistachios – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Beaten silver leaf/paper, flaked pistachios, flaked almonds for garnishing

  • Crush the cardamom & soak the saffron strands in a tbsp of warm milk.
  • In the meantime, put milk & sugar into a large, heavy bottom saucepan & boil until reduced to a third, & the mixture is thick & creamy. Stir often.
  • Add the cardamom, flaked pistachio & saffron. Simmer for 5 minutes, take off heat & allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Spoon the mixture into moulds, cover tightly with foil & freeze overnight. (If you don’t have kulfi moulds, any ice-cream moulds work fine. I made some in the ice-cream lollie moulds too.)
  • To release from moulds, warm the outside by rubbing between the palms for a few seconds & ease out. Alternatively hold under warm water for 2-3 seconds, or wrap in a warm towel for a minute. Invert onto individual serving plates.
  • Garnish with silver leaf, flaked almonds & pistachios; some cardamom powder if you desire.

Just back from dropping our daughter to school…YAWN!!

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  • Ivy
    8 years ago

    I am totally addicted to cardamom and I just want to grab one from the screen. Hope your daughter has lots of fun at the camp.

  • Laurie
    8 years ago

    The first time I smelled cardamom I was so tantalized.. I love your use of it here, especially paired with saffron!

  • noble pig
    8 years ago

    I love this! I would love to try kulfi! You have so many wonderful recipes! I love cardadamom too!

  • Manggy
    8 years ago

    Saffron and silver leaf! Quite a decadent Kulfi you have there 🙂 Looks delicious and refreshing!

  • Nags
    8 years ago

    haha ur son looks adorable in that pic 🙂 and that’s a very yummy looking dessert!

  • FoodyGuru (Srimathi)
    8 years ago

    Hi Deeba,

    I have something special waiting in my blog for you. Please do pick them up.

  • Meeta
    8 years ago

    i have been meaning to make this too. it’s my favorite kulfi because i love saffron, cardamom and pistachios! lovely going deeba!

  • Peabody
    8 years ago

    Never heard of it, but it looks and sounds wonderful.

  • Bellini Valli
    8 years ago

    Hope your daughter has a great time away. These school trips with their friends are always so much fun! Too bad she couldn’t take this with her…or I couldn’t take it to work this morning:D

  • nicisme
    8 years ago

    I love kulfi, not made it in ages though.
    I wish we had school trips like that when I was a kid, lucky girl – hope she has load of fun!

  • Alexa
    8 years ago

    Hi Deeba,
    I hope your daughter has a great time at her camp. It sounds like fun. This frozen dessert sounds delicious and looks beautiful. I’ll have to try it… maybe this weekend.

  • Jeanne
    8 years ago

    Thanks Deeba for explaining the difference between kulfi and ice cream (and, by extension, sorbet!). The other day I had shirkhand for the first time and fell totalyl in love with this flavour combo of saffron, cardamom and pistachios – so this is *definitely* being bookmarked as both my hsband and I are seriously addicted to cardamom 🙂

  • Arfi Binsted
    8 years ago

    ice cream or not, this looks fabulous!

  • Bharti
    8 years ago

    The kulfi looks fab. One really can’t tire of this tasty treat. Your son looks so I bet he was annoyed at his sister for making him do this. Cute! tw.

  • Clumbsy Cookie
    8 years ago

    Wow! 2 of my favourite flavours! Great!

  • farida
    8 years ago

    Oh, my dear cardamom is on your blog too:) I love it in desserts! I’ve heard about Kulfi many times before, but have never tried making it. Maybe I should, especially that there is cardamom in it:)Great recipe!

  • Vidyut
    7 years ago

    Talk of temptation….. this blog has to be my main online sin

  • cooking
    7 years ago

    Wow! ะน of my favourite flavours! Great!

  • Indrani
    6 years ago

    Hello Mrs. Deeba,

    Im was about to try the kulfi recipe mentioned about when i got curious on how to do kulfi with milkmaid which you had mentioned in the post. Would be really glad if you can mail me the recipe. My emaild id is


  • Indrani
    6 years ago

    cant believe that there so many typo errors in the above comment. Sorry.

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