Saturday, August 18, 2012

Connemara Kulfi or Qulfi Cill Dara, Indian classic with an Irish twist

This is possibly the easiest cold desert in the world. Kulfi, or Qulfi, is kind of Indian Ice cream but without the need for an ice cream maker.  It's very popular on the subcontinent - this is just an Irish twist on it using home grown fruits, local honey and two great Irish ingredients, Carolans Irish Cream and Glenisk yogurt
Sorry 'bout the photo - using an iphone
A really tasty, dense texture, it has tones of a toffee flavour because of the evaporated milk and the cardamom gives it a surprising depth  - a nice contrast.
The recipe itself was inspired by and developed from Camillia Panjabi's 50 Great curries of India which is a great book that deals with the various different cuisine styles right across the sub continent, not just concentrating on food from Punjab - most familiar to us - as most books do.
Her explanations of regional, caste and religious aspects are clear and precise, and it goes a long way towards developing our understanding of such a fascinating and vast food culture.

With the recent good weather its a great time to consider alternatives to ice cream like sorbets or a little more exotic like this kulfi. In India popular flavors include pistachio, mango, vanilla, and rosewater.
At this time of year, foraging for fruits like blackberry or strawberry is both fun and rewarding, so if you have spent a few hours going through hedgerows then this is a great reward for all your efforts.

As for the alcohol content, that evaporates in the heating process, so you can safely let kids enjoy this. 

Its not churned like our ice cream so you don't need a special machine to make it, just a freezer and a tin
Because of its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream. It can be set in molds or glasses with a stick like ice lollies etc. or just set in a small tin as I do.
One great advantage is though it keeps in the freezer like ice cream, unlike an ice cream, it's no problem to re-freeze.

Traditionally Kulfi was made by reducing milk over a long period requiring constant stirring, but using condensed or evaporated milk, or in my recipe, Carolans Irish Cream make a far easier and quicker alternative.

There are many recipes online for kulfi, some use various combos of condensed, evaporated or powdered milk as well - but this one is as always set to be as simple and straight forward as possible.

The second time I made this, the first was about three weeks ago using blackberries but recently I was staying with friends 300 yards into Kildare over the border from Wicklow - and they have the most wonderful wild strawberries which I added to the mold - so that's where the Qulfi Cill Dara name comes from, I used blackberries in the last one I made so I would call it Connemara Kulfi - but that's for another day.

450ml  Evaporated milk*
450ml Carolans Irish Cream
3 Cardamom pods
3 big tablespoons Glenisk whole milk organic yogurt **
4 tablespoons honey or sugar, I prefer using honey
Seasonal sweet soft fruit, like wild strawberry, blackberry, currants or raspberry

Optional: A few strands of Saffron - or half a teaspoon of turmeric powder for colour

*the Carolans and Evaporated milk are interchangeable, you can use more or less of both.
**  You can use double cream, but I have found the yogurt gives a better texture, and you can of course use a flavored yogurt like vanilla if you like, the Glenisk vanilla yogurt has real vanilla seeds in it as opposed to essence.

Add the honey and cardamom pods to the Carolans and evaporated milk in a heavy based saucepan.
Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan.

After ten minutes remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve to remove the cardamom pods, seeds and saffron strands if you are using them.

Leave aside until it has cooled a bit, about hand temperature is fine, then stir in the Yogurt and fruits if you are using them.

Pour into a mold or tin and chuck it into the freezer for 4 or 5 hours, overnight is fine.

To remove from the mold or glass, dip the container into warm water and press out the kulfi. I serve in slices with a sprig of mint

 - hope you enjoy it, photos coming soon.

As always I really appreciate it when people take the time to comment, or suggest alternative variations.

Just to add, it is possible to make your own evaporated milk - I have not done so, yet, but Imen from the great website has done so - as well as her own condensed milk.
According to her - and I would believe it - the 'flavour is far superior to any version of the same in a tin with a supermarket shelf life of six months or more.' and I would believe her - must try it sometime.
This is her way of doing so 
Farm Fresh Homemade Evaporated Milk
2 litres whole milk from your farm or local dairy (from the store is fine as well)
In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for about two hours until the volume is reduced by 60%. The milk should be barely simmering and never bubbling at any point. Stir every 15 minutes or so to keep the milk from burning on the bottom.
Remove the pot from heat and let the milk cool. The milk will thicken further after it has cooled.
Will keep in refrigerator for 2 weeks or more.

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  1. This dessert sounds very nice. It would be great if you put a photo of it in. Cheers

    PS Thank you very much for following Carole's Chatter

  2. What an interesting recipe, a must try. It would make a great dessert after a meal of your hearty and healthy beans.


Thanks for commenting - its cool that you took the time