Kesar Kulfi is traditional indian ice cream flavored with saffron & almonds. This simple kulfi is made by reducing milk, mawa or khoya, condensed milk and ground almond (meal). Takes about 30-40 minutes to make and is a delightful treat on a hot summer day.
What is Kulfi
Kulfi is a no churn indian ice cream. It has a dense texture and is made by reducing or thickening whole or full fat milk till it reduces to half or third of its volume (similar to how rabdi is made). The thickened milk is then flavored with saffron or cardamom or rose or mango, sweetened and poured in molds. There is no need for making custard or churning. Kulfi is not melt in the mouth or creamy - it is chewy.
There are many kulfi flavors that are popular in india. If you will visit Old delhi, you will find that Kulfi is often served with falooda sev (chewy vermicelli made with rice starch). It is one of the most popular treat on a stick with many street vendors selling to all over north india.
Mom used to make traditional kulfi on repeat during summer. She used just two ingredients - milk and milkmaid (aka condensed milk).Yes you heard it right- no mawa, no rice flour, no cornstarch, nothing. She used to put the effort in reducing milk, simmering it on slow heat with continuous stirring. The taste and creaminess of reduced (or evaporated) milk was beyond delicious!
Difference Between Ice cream & Kulfi
The texture of kulfi is different from ice cream. Ice cream is airy, light and fluffy while kulfi is dense and chewy. Kulfi will not melt in the mouth like ice cream, you have to chew it- a unique delicious experience!
Kesar Badam Kulfi
Kesar Kulfi is one of the most popular kind of kulfi in India. The thickened milk base is flavored with saffron and ground almond paste is added for nuttiness. It is fragrant and delightful.
In my recipe, I use a little mawa or khoya for added richness and also it helps in thickening the milk quickly. It is a very easy recipe which needs just 4-5 ingredients.
- Whole Milk. Or you can use half and half if you are in United States. Half and Half is richer and creamier than just milk because it has cream added in.
- Mawa or Khoya - Substitute with milk powder
- Sweetened Condensed Milk.
- Ground Almonds - I used super fine blanched almond flour. You can also grind almonds at home. To do so - soak the almonds in hot water for 20-30 minutes, then remove their skin and grind into a smooth paste with milk.
How To Make Kesar Kulfi
- Rinse a wide and heavy pot with water. Add milk to the pot and set on stove to boil. Till the milk comes to the boil, keep a close watch. Once boiling, reduce to low flame and let the milk cook for 20-22 minutes till its reduced to half of its volume. You will need to stir regularly (but not continuously). Do remember to scrape the sides of the pot and mix the film back with the milk.
- While the milk is reducing, add saffron strands to a mortar and pestle, add a pinch of sugar and grind the saffron to a powder. Pour over 1-2 tablespoon of warm milk and let stand to infuse.
Note- If you are using homemade almond paste, now is the time to grind the soaked and peeled almonds with little milk.I use ready to use super fine balanced almond flour.
2. Once the milk has considerably thickened, add the condensed milk, ground almonds and grated mawa into the milk. Also add the saffron. Mix well to make sure that there are no lumps and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Continue to stir with a spoon and breaking any lumps.
3. Switch off the heat and let the kulfi base cool down completely. Taste the kulfi base again once for sweetness once its cold and adjust if needed.
4. Pour the mixture into kulfi moulds. Cover with lids or aluminum foil. Let freeze for 8 to 10 hours.
5. Once set, unmould the kulfi by dipping the mould in water or by running a butter knife all along the sides. If you set it in bowls or ramekins, you can serve it as it is.
What to use if you don't have traditional Kulfi moulds?
- Use Small paper cups.
- UseTequila shot glasses
- Pour kulfi mixture into ramekins or dessert bowls
- Use Popsicle moulds
- Use pudding tins
Storage & Serving
Store kulfi for a month or two frozen. You can serve it as it is. You can also top it with falloff
Yes absolutely, you can. Make sure that the sugar is dissolved very well. I prefer using condensed milk because I feel it gives a smooth texture to the kulfi.
The higher the moisture content in milk, the more chances of kulfi becoming icy. The reason could be that you did not reduce the milk enough. When we reduce the milk, we are essentially removing its moisture content and saturating its fat content. Thickish reduced milk has higher fat content which will not be icy after freezing.
The main reason is I never saw mom doing it. Her kulfi was delicious!! Both rice and corn starch are primarily used to thicken the milk. In my recipe using just condensed milk and mawa which contributes to thickening the milk quickly is enough. You will love this kulfi.
You can use a coconut milk or oat milk. You do not need to reduce the plant based milk. Mix the ingredients and use coconut condensed milk (its vegan) or sugar in your recipe. However, let me mention that the texture and flavor will be very different from traditional kulfi.
Yes skip the ground almonds.
Kesar Kulfi (Kulfi Ice Cream With Condensed Milk)
- 4 cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup mawa (90-100g mawa)
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 15 saffron strands
- ⅓ cup almond flour super fine, see instructions on how to make almond paste at home
Reducing the Milk
- In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to a boil. Once the milk is boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook down with constant stirring. You do not have to stand by the stove but check and stir every 10-12 minutes so that the milk does not stick to the bottom or sides of the pot.Keep on scraping the side of the pot and mixing back with milk while you stir. Depending on fat/water content of the milk it could take 20-30 minutes for the milk to reduce to half of its volume.
- While the milk is reducing, add the saffron strands to mortar pestle along with a pinch of sugar. Grind together to a fine powder. Pour over a tablespoon of warm milk (you can use the same milk that your are reducing) and let stand to infuse.
- Grate the mawa using your box grater. Keep ready. Open the condensed milk tin and measure ½ cup.
- Only If you want to use homemade almond paste. Soak 20 almonds in water overnight or for a few hours. Peel the skin of soaked almonds, add them to a grinder jar and add a splash of milk. Grind to a smooth thick paste.Alternatively, You can use superfine blanched almond flour. I use the same.
Make the Kulfi Base
- Once the milk has reduced, it will be light brownish in color and much thicker in consistency. Add the grated mawa, ground almonds, condensed milk and saffron to the milk with continual stirring (so that no lumps are formed) and let cook for another 8-10 minutes on low heat . The mixture will thicken further and become smooth.
- Remove from heat. If you want you can add some crushed nuts at this point. Let sit on the counter to cool down completely.
- Pour the mixture into kulfi moulds. Cover with lids or aluminum foil. Let freeze for 8 to 10 hours.
- Once set, unmould the kulfi by dipping the mould in water or by running a butter knife all along the sides. If you set it in bowls or ramekins, you can serve it as it is.
- To make nut free kulfi, skip the almonds.
- Substitute with equal quantity of milk powder if you don't have khoya.
What to use if you don't have traditional Kulfi moulds?Set kulfi in :-
- Small paper cups.
- Shot glasses
- Pour kulfi mixture into ramekins or dessert bowls
- Popsicle moulds
- Pudding tins