“Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:”
Alfred Lord Tennyson 

 We spend a lifetime teaching the kids not to give in to temptation, not to be unreasonable.  That there are lots of things in the world that one would like to do but self restraint is a virtue that needs to be exercised … blah blah blah. After all, we’ve been there, done that … and we know better! The lines from Tennysons The Charge of the Light Brigade’, which we studied in school eons ago, flood my mind often, especially the word ‘reason‘!  I really do like the lines now. Hated them in school though as they sounded like gobblygook then!
Food blogs these days are tempting, to put it mildly, and in some ways I am ever so glad to be the empress of the kitchen! No mother to tut tut at me while I succumb to temptation, no one to question why I cannot resist what I see, and no one to check my free run amidst pots and pans! One day, I fell into Spice Spoons blog post virtual trap, and saw the kulfi which was served in enviable shot glasses, coloured stirrers used as sticks. Predictably, I fell into a dreamy trance, knowing just where I was headed … ‘our’s not to reason why, ours but to do and die‘! I HAD to make the Shayma’s kulfia traditional Indian style of ice cream that needs no churning, is dense and creamy, and sublime to the very last bit.

While in the kitchen, here’s a sneak peek of our kitchen remodeling – a simple country style kitchen, with a warm wooded look that I love. Things are looking up finally, with work progressing at more than snails pace now. Still can’t bake as much, but have become quite passionate about frozen desserts … Fresh Cherry Fro Yo, Plum Fro Yo Popsicles, Peach-Ginger & Plum-Vanilla Granita to name a few. So the kulfi was  one I could not let pass by. I sneakily bought a litre of low fat cream. A tin of condensed milk has been sitting with me forever because it wanted to be made into Dulce de leche but never quite got there. Figured this was destiny’s plan!
The pictures on Shayma’s post called my name, and I soon made them. The kulfi, a dessert which is very popular across the sub-continent, was absolutely divine. With the low fat cream, I didn’t need to simmer it for more that 15 -20 minutes, but I did err in that I forgot to give it the odd stir every few minutes, so it got slightly caught on the base of the pan. Didn’t matter because I got this beautifully burnt caramelized flavour … a little more apathy and I would have been crying over disaster. Take heed dear readers, don’t forget to stir!

The idea of using pistachios and almonds slightly ground or rather finely chopped in the blender is certainly novel. I’ve never heard of it before, and it’s quite genius. It helps thicken the cream, and distributes a beautiful nutty flavour though out the ice cream, making it almost luxurious, a royal serving! The teeny nutty bits get sort of soft with the cooking and plump up enticingly making the end result deeply satisfying.
I added some pureed mango to about a quarter of the batter after it was cooked and set some kulfis with half plain half mango mixture, others with a layer of mango etc.  I used a variety of metallic moulds from my collection, and saw at Cherrapeno that silicon works well too. I had fun and the flavours were fabulous. This is a recipe I shall make often. Taking pictures was a downright pain as it was sweltering hot, cloudy and humid that day, but the taste made up for everything!

Mango Kulfi {Indian Ice Cream}

Adapted minimally from Spice Spoon
Serves 12-15 if using kulfi molds. {You will need a heavy-bottom pan to prepare this, otherwise the cream and sugar will stick to the base of the pan and burn.}
1/2 cup almonds,skins removed
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled; unsalted
1 litre half-and-half {I used 25% low fat cream}
300 ml condensed milk {about 2/3 rd of a 400ml tin was enough for me}
1 large mango, pulp pureed in blender till smooth, strained
Grind almonds and pistachios in a blender {not a food processor} by pulsing a few times. At the base of the blender, where the blade is, some of the nuts will turn into a flour like powder. This will help thicken the kulfi.
Place pan on medium heat on the stove. Pour in half-and-half.
Add almonds and pistachios.
As the temperature of the half-and-half rises, start adding in condensed milk. You will have to do this by a taste test. I used about 2/3rd of the tin. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat to low. STIR!!
A skin will form on top, just keep stirring it in. You will continue to stir for 20-25 minutes {one hour if using half and half} till the mixture thickens and reduces, becoming thick.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Add the mango puree to half, or the whole, and stir in to mix uniformly. Pour slowly into popsicle moulds {or shot-glasses}.
Place moulds/glasses in freezer. At the 30 minute mark when the kulfi has started to form, place popsicle sticks in each mould/glass.
Freeze overnight or for at least 8 hours.
To unmould, dip quickly in warm water.
Serve with a scattering of pistachios and almonds.


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“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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