Friday, 5 April 2013

Savouring Kulfi : Indian frozen dessert

We placed an order for our last round of dessert in a fancy restaurant in Mumbai. The waiter arrived balancing the four plates on his hands. These white plates had a royal red border on the edge with beautiful thin veils all round it. The centre it seemed was reserved only for this shahi frozen dessert: Kulfi.

It arrived as a slender square slab cut in smaller cubes (for the ease of eating). With the spoon I popped a cube in my mouth and the chill felt as though the Himalayan show was crushing in my mouth. Slowly its flavours started releasing. First bit dense sweet dairy particles followed by flavours of saffron, cardamom and gulkand (rose petal jam). I let it stay on the edge of my tongue and let the liquid drip down my oesophagus. Within seconds it disappeared leaving a lingering taste and temptation to have more.

I had the second cube. This time I bit it. Suddenly the ice crystals in the kulfi gave numbing sense to my teeth. It was amusing to imagine how these tiny ice crystals in the kulfi were teasing my taste palate.

I swear I meant to stop after five spoons but somehow in minutes the white plate was empty with just few milky saffron drops here and there (which I wiped clean with my finger J )

‘The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.’ ~ Brillat Savarin

It struck me: how long its been since I had it last? A few years ago the kulfiwallas (local Kulfi sellers) were everywhere. Then just as suddenly they just disappeared. A good Kulfi is an absolute delight. A perfect closure to a meal. Vowing I would never again leave my kulfi cravings to the whims of restaurant fashion, I determined to make it myself.

It is a make ahead dessert. The process is simple. Reduce milk to half or 1/3rd depending on what the recipe calls for. To fasten the process and increase its density, external thickeners (condensed milk, cornflour, milk powder, almond and rice flour) can be used. Having tried various thickeners and reduction points, i prefer reducing it to half and adding 2 tbsp of milk powder to 1 litre milk for additional dense milky taste. Add flavours of your choice and freeze them in your choice moulds for minimum 6 hours.

Unmould them to serve.

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