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Pistachio & Cardamom Kulfi – Indian Ice cream


Indians have an affinity with milk based sweets richly flavoured with pistachios or even almonds. And I’m no exception. Kulfi comes in different flavours but I think my childhood memory has to be yearning for the ‘pista kulfi’ sold by street vendors or locally known as our local ‘kulfiwallah’. They are stored in earthen pots or moulds to provide the insulation in the hot summer months.

I remember making this last summer for a friends barbecue and we served it with some poached pears. Worked a treat! Some recipes might call for using green essence to give it the colour. If you coarsely grind a few pistachios mixing it in with the milk, it lends a really pretty green hue and also a delicious flavour to the overall dish. I know you might think it takes a long time to make but rest assured the results are to die for plus it stores very well. Though in my household it doesn’t last too long!


6 pints of whole milk

5 whole green cardamom pods lightly bashed

Seeds of 8 cardamom pods pounded to a powder

170gms sugar

30gms ground pistachios

1 tbsp rice flour

50gms coarsely chopped shelled pistachio


Pour the milk in a heavy bottom pan along with the whole cardamom pods and bring to a boil. Make sure to stir continuously till it comes to a boil to prevent from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour and 15mins until it has thickened and reduced to half its original quantity.

At this point turn off the heat, discard the cardamom pods. Add the cardamom powder, sugar and the ground pistachio. Stir well until it has mixed in well. Dissolve the rice flour in a couple of tablespoons of the warm milk and tip it back into the pan. Stir well to prevent any lumps from forming.

Add half the chopped pistachios and leave to cool. Pour the mix into a large plastic box, cover and freeze. Make sure to whisk the kulfi mix an hour later. Repeat this process a couple of times and then leave it in to freeze solid overnight.

Make sure to allow the kulfi to soften for 5-7minutes before serving. Scoop it out in bowls and garnish with the remaining chopped pistachio.

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