The History of the Coolest, Most Delicious South Asian Dessert: Kulfi
Kulfi is a traditional frozen dessert in South Asia, sometimes referred to as “Indian ice cream.” It is popular in India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as the Middle East. It can be found in Indian restaurants around the world.
Kulfi is similar to ice cream in appearance but is denser and creamier. It is most similar to frozen custard desserts in North America and comes in a variety of flavors—but the most popular and traditional ones are pistachio, vanilla, mango, rose, cardamom, and saffron. It is often served on a stick but can also be eaten off a plate, leaf, or out of a cup.
To prepare this delicious dessert, sweetened or flavored milk is cooked very slowly with constant stirring so the milk does not stick. It is cooked until it is thickened and its volume is reduced by half. This caramelizes the lactose and sugar, giving kulfi a distinct flavor.
Today, it is often made with heavy cream, evaporated milk, or sweetened condensed milk to hurry the cooking process along. You can even add a filler ingredient, such as bread crumbs or a paste made from water and cornstarch, to thicken the mixture faster, though it will not be as pure as traditional kulfi