Home > Food, General Knowledge > 165/365 – Kulfi

165/365 – Kulfi

Kulfi or Qulfi is a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian Subcontinent. It is often described as “traditional Indian Subcontinent ice-cream”.It is popular throughout countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma (Myanmar), and even the Middle East. Kulfi is also widely available in Indian restaurants in Europe, East Asia and North America.

Kulfi has similarities to ice cream in appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier. It comes in various flavours, including cream (malai), raspberry, rose, mango, cardamom, saffron, and pistachio, the more traditional flavours, as well as newer variations like apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and avocado. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream.

Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.

History

Just like any other culture exposed to snow and ice, some people living in the Indian Subcontinent, especially those living high in the Himalayas, would have stumbled upon the technique of freezing various sweetened liquids, thus turning them into frozen desserts. These privileges were limited to the aristocracy until modern day refrigeration technology reached the Subcontinent.

Preparation

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, until its volume was reduced by a 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 is 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 that provide insulation from the external heat and slow down the melting of ice. Kulfi prepared in this manner is hence called ‘Matka Kulfi’. Kulfi, thus prepared by slow freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of water crystallization.

Traditionally in India, kulfi is sold by vendors called kulfiwallahs who keep the kulfi frozen by placing the moulds inside a large earthenware pot called a “matka”, filled with ice and salt. It is served on a leaf or frozen onto a stick.

It can be garnished with pistachios, cardamom and similar. Often it is served as Falooda Kulfi which is kulfi with rice noodles, rose syrup and other ingredients. Popular flavors include pistachio, mango, vanilla, and rose.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulfi

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Categories: Food, General Knowledge
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