Kulfi: Indian Ice Cream

Oh kulfi (KUL-FEE), how I love thee! Ice cream has always been one of my favorite desserts, but Indian ice cream is on a whole different playing field. If any of you have had the opportunity to visit India, you can attest to the fact that milk in India is much more rich in both flavor and fat content. This translates to creamier, and more decadent ice creams served there! Mix a higher fat milk with delicious saffron, cardamom, and almonds, and you have an addictive and heavenly home-made ice cream!

Being in the US we do not have access to what I believe to be 8% fat milk (Vitamin D milk sold in the US is 3%), however using half and half and condensed milk does the trick and your result is a delicious frozen treat!

Kulfi or Qulfi is enjoyed street side by millions in the Southeast Asia region. In the above picture you can see stainless steel containers that the ice cream is frozen into. When served, they slice up the ice cream and you eat with a wooden stick! Kulfi is served in so many different ways, sometimes with sweet noodles cooked in sugar syrup called ‘falooda’, or with a healthier twist with some cut fresh fruits. You can be more modern about it and instead of slicing it up in pieces and eating it with a spoon like we do in India, scoop it up and put it into a cone and enjoy like regular ice cream! 🙂

I hope you get to try this recipe – it’s my mom’s signature kulfi recipe that she is so excited to share with all of you! 🙂


1 14 or 15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 14 or 15 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup of half and half (regular milk will not work!)
1 cup almonds, soaked in hot water and peeled

2 slices of white or buttermilk bread, crusts removed

Spice Grinder Ingredients
a pinch (approximately 7-10 threads) saffron
5-6 pods of cardamom, peeled (you need to peel the green skin off and use only the black/brown seeds! [Note: they are the best and most fresh when they are black]
1/4 cup of granulated sugar


Put condensed milk, evaporated milk, half and half, and almonds into a blender. Blend for approximately 20-30 seconds until smooth (do not over-blend!)

In a spice grinder, add the saffron, cardamom and ginger and grind for approximately 20-30 seconds until a powder is formed.

Add these ground spices into the milk mixture and stir. Now add the two slices of crustless bread and pulse the blender a few times only to break up the bread a little (do not liquefy!)

Pour mixture in the ice cream machine (manual or electronic) and make ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you do not own an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a suitable container or ice cube tray with sticks in them, and place it in the freezer.

Garnish with sliced pistachio, if desired! Other fun garnish ideas are shredded coconut, mango slices, and sliced pineapple and strawberries!

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