Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to India. I imagine many of you raised your hands and have a smile on your face. Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever been to India in the summer season. Fewer people with their hands up I’m sure… and probably most with not as big a smile. Understandably so. It gets unbearably hot and humid in most of India during the summer. The heat is so terrible that for many the one or two hour afternoon “siesta” time starts extending from lunch to early evening.
Indians have come up with many culinary tricks to combat the extreme heat. One of course is lassi. Another one is the Indian “ice-cream”, kulfi. Kulfi doesn’t have the custard base that is common of ice-creams, yet it does have a soft and creamy texture. It is very dense and takes much longer than ice-cream to melt. It also doesn’t require an ice-cream maker. Read more about it here.
Did your smile just get bigger now that you remember the pleasure of eating a cold kulfi from a street side vendor on a hot summer day? And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the intense joy you felt on the first glimpse of the sea of mangos at your local grocery corner. Another jewel in the tropical Indian summer.
My recipe below is easier than the traditional way of making kulfi. I took advantage of having access to heavy cream and gelatin to add to the creamy texture. My strict vegetarian readers can follow the same recipe leaving out the gelatin.
For those of you lucky enough to be in India during the summer, enjoy all the kulfis you can. I am completely jealous. For the rest of us, this recipe brings us a little bit closer to the joys of an Indian summer.
Update: This recipe was my first time participating in the ‘Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!’ theme! Check out all the other participants on Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes blog. Which, btw, is another great source for SCD and gluten-free recipes.
Makes: 8 quarter cup molds
Ready in: 20 minutes + freezing time
1. Cut and remove the flesh of the mangoes. A mango has a large flat center seed that you have to cut around to remove the flesh. Start by placing the mango on one of its broad sides. Slice the mango horizontally lengthwise slightly above the center to avoid the seed. Then flip the mango and slice the other side. You should now have 2 large portions and one seed portion. You may want to cut the large portions in half. Using a paring knife, separate the flesh from the skin. Remove any flesh that you can from the seed portion as well. It’s fine if it gets a little messy.
2. Puree the flesh in a blender or food processor. You should have about 1 cup of puree (or more). Put the puree into a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, whip the cream till it’s stiff.
4. Mix the gelatin and water together in a small pan over low heat. Stir until the gelatin dissolves. This should take just a few minutes.
5. Add the honey, lemon juice and gelatin to the mango puree. Fold the whipped cream into mixture.
6. Place bowl in the freezer until mixture is mostly frozen. This should take about 30 minutes to an hour. Remove from freezer and mix with a fork to break the ice crystals.
7. Press the mixture into individual molds. Here I’ve used muffin liners (baking cups) as molds. I used the muffin pan to give the liner structure while I pressed in the kulfi mixture. You can use any freezer container as a mold. Put the molds into the freezer for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
8. Serve plain or garnished with nuts. Traditionally almond or pistachio nuts are used.