Saturday, 18 February 2017

Kulfi - Indian frozen dessert

KULFI - Indian frozen dessert
Kulfi is considered as one of the greatest Indian desserts. It is a frozen, milk based dessert, colloquially known as the Indian ice cream. It is made of milk and is available in many flavours. It is India’s traditional ice cream and is popular throughout India. Kulfi is also popular throughout Indian sub-continent and in Middle East.

When the kulfi was first invented, it was limited to upper class people until the modern day refrigeration technology reached the common man. The word ‘Kulfi’, derived from Hindi, is said to be a synonym for the word ‘ice’, coined by the residents of the Himalayan region. Kulfi is believed to have been invented by the people living near the Himalayan region.

Unlike the ice creams of the west, the kulfi is not whipped, resulting it to be dense and thick. The major difference between ice cream and kulfi is that, the milk and cream in Kulfi are more concentrated by cooking, ice cream contains more air than kulfi and as a result kulfi melts slowly.

Aluminium Kulfi Moulds
The traditional method of preparing kulfi is by evaporating sweetened and flavoured milk, by continuously stirring it to keep the milk from sticking to the bottom of the vessel. This is later frozen in tightly sealed moulds of various shapes, especially conical moulds. The kulfi is garnished with saffron, nuts and cardamom. It has a distinctive taste due to caramelisation of lactose and sugar during the lengthy cooking process.

Sometimes shortcuts are used to thicken the milk. For that, cornstarch/cornflour, ground up white rice, unflavored gelatin, torn up fresh bread or fresh bread crumbs or dry milk powder or mawa or koya are used.

Traditionally in India, kulfi is sold by vendors called kulfiwalas, who keep the kulfi frozen by placing the moulds inside a large earthenware pot called a matka, filled with ice and salt.

Matka Kulfis
Matka kulfi and falooda kulfi are the two popular varieties of kulfis. Matka kulfis are the kulfis that are stored and served in earthen pots, while falooda kulfis are kulfis prepared with vermicelli. Now, kulfis are available in fruit and berry flavours too.

Malai Kulfis
The two nuts that are often used either separately or together are almond and pistachio. When ordering kulfi look at the name to know what the flavor is: Pista Kulfi (pistachio), Badam Kulfi (almond), Mango Kulfi, Saffron Kulfi, Kulfi Falooda/Falouda (assorted flavored and served with, yes, vermicelli noodles), and the list goes on. So when you order Kulfi, as there are lot of varieties of kulfi, you will always get confused which one to order!

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