If you grew up in India like me then I’m sure you must have memories of Indian summer and if you remember that summer, then there must also be kulfi somewhere there. Well! I have some fond memories of those summer evenings. In our town, like any other town of India, we had a street where all these vendors would come and line up in the evening selling street food. Aloo chat, gol gappe, sugarcane juice and then there were Falooda Kulfi stalls!
That was the favorite place to hang out for everyone. Our dad would take me and my little brother there. We would go in our Maruti 800 car, which by the way was my dad’s third child. He would park it as close possible to the kulfi stall so that we could sit on the roof of the car and eat Faluda Kulfi. Did you also play this game with your sibling where whoever eats last wins? NO? I guess we are were the crazy ones ! My brother would always lose and then I would eat my kulfi little by little just to piss him off. Ah, good times!
I thought that summer is almost coming to an end and I haven’t made kulfi yet this season. So like every summer I call my mom to ask for the recipe of Faluda Kulfi. And she goes… Cook milk in a large pot. Stir it and stir it and stir…until it reduces to half and… I said to myself “this summer is very different from the rest of the summers that I’ve had in the past”. This summer I have an 11 month old who will come and cling on to my leg if I stood in my kitchen stirring and stirring and stirring…
So I found a shortcut. This shortcut is super short and super yummy! I can only say that try this recipe and if you think its not too ”low cal” for you then go run a few miles but then when you come back and eat this kulfi you sure will thank me.
A little something: So let me tell you a little about Fallooda Kulfi which is nothing but an Indian 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, till its volume was reduced by 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 was then frozen in tight sealed molds 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 (hindi) that provide insulation from the external heat and slow down the melting of ice and because they are made in matkas or pots they are called Matka Kufi. Kulfi, thus prepared by slow freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of water crystallization. Its then garnished with nuts or falooda which is nothing but boiled vermicilli dipped in rose water.
But we are not doing all that. We will just get all the ingredients, mix them up and freeze.
1 (16oz) cup heavy cream
1 (14 oz) can of evaporated milk. If you want you can use low fat.
1 (14 oz) can of condensed milk
8-10 strands of saffron (It is sort of a culinary jewel and I would say a must in kulfi which you can find it in any Indian/international store. I would say buy mexican saffron, they are cheaper than the high quality Indian ones.)
Seeds of 5-6 cardamom pods
2 tsp sugar
2 cups cool whipped topping
1/2 cup coarsely crushed nuts. Divide into two parts. Coarsely grind half of it. ( I used pistachios but you can also add almonds, cashews. And you can powder it all if you want as well I like it when I can get them in small bites )
With a mortar and pestle, grind together sugar, saffron and cardamom seeds. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cool whip.
Using a whisk gently mix everything together. You need to be gentle otherwise cool whip melts very easily making the mixture more watery and you want it light and airy.
Stir in ground pistachio powder.
Add in saffron, sugar, cardamom mixture and coarsely crushed nuts. Mix well.
Pour mixture into small dixie style plastic cups and cover with plastic or aluminum wrap. If you don’t have cups just pour it all in a bowl or a deep dish and cover it with a plastic wrap touching the surface of the liquid.
Freeze Kulfi for at least 4 – 6 hours, preferably overnight.
9 tablespoons rosesyrup
3 ounces vermicelli
Boil the vermicelli, drain the water out of it, and let it cool for some time (it’s best to refrigerate it by putting it in a container and snapping its lid in place so it won’t get stiff by cooling).
Before serving take out the kulfi glasses. Rub them between your hands to warm the sides and if you have used a bowl stick it inside warm water for a few seconds. Flip and the kulfi will come out. Garnish with some falooda and rose water and serve. You sure going to get a little taste of India in every single bite that you take!