Kulfi -the ever popular milk based frozen dessert of India . Dense, oh-so-creamy with a granular texture with nuts added in sometimes. Milk is simmered over low heat, the reduced, thickened and sweetened milk flavored and frozen in kulfi molds or the traditional matkas (small earthen pots). Traditional flavors like cardamom, saffron, malai , rose and mango are always on the menu of joints selling these frozen treats. Thanks to our ever creative chefs, we have refreshing flavors like orange, strawberry, mocha, cranberry, chocolate and a zillion other combinations.
I know, the way I have been getting you to fantasize about this dessert, you would think I am going to start a kulfi-retailing chain. Nope, am not. Just got a little carried away having savored my allowed bite of the wonderful Pistachio Kulfi, one of my all time favorites. I attribute some of the kilos I have gained to the many kulfis I have blissfully eaten at Sreeraj Lassi Bar, one of the most famous lassi joints in Bangalore.
Hubby had got a huge packet of pistachios from his trip to Muscat recently and I have finished quite some part of it making the chocolaty, melt-in-the-mouth Pistachio-Chocolate Fudge . Have been noticing that the packet in the freezer is getting smaller and smaller by the day. Hubby and kids are seen lurking around the fridge quite often and I can't let my precious pistachios totally disappear without making this favorite dessert of mine.
With Diwali around the corner and the invariable shower of sweets, I have attempted to make a low fat version of kulfi. It still made an immensely enjoyable dessert and worth the time and extra effort to make the low-fat khoya. Do give this low-fat khoya a try and you will be glad you did. While you are at it, you could make some extra which will come in handy during the festival season. Use it in your kheer, mithais, halwas and in your subzis. You are sure to get a similar taste and mouth feel (if not exactly the same) as the traditional khoya sans the horrendous amount of fat and calories. New visitors to my space, don't miss checking out the Pineapple Halwa I had made earlier with this khoya.
Back to the present and to my recipe
Low Fat Milk- 2 liters
Sugar - 1/2 cup (alter to suit your taste, remember, desserts when frozen taste slightly less sweet than at room temperature)
Pistachios- 1/4 cup, ground coarsely
Pistachio Essence - 2-3 drops
Green Food Color - a few drops
Low Fat Khoya - 1/2 cup, crushed when still warm
Finely Chopped Pistachios- 2 tablespoons, for garnish .
Procedure : Prepare the low-fat khoya and keep aside. When the khoya is still warm, crush it lightly with your fingertips. This will give the kulfi a wonderful grainy texture without strands of khoya coming in your mouth.
Bring the milk to a boil in a broad, thick bottomed pan. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat to minimum and keep boiling till reduced to half the quantity. Keep scraping the cream on the sides of the pan, back into the milk. Keep stirring in between at regular intervals. Make sure you keep a ladle in the pan throughout. This will give way to the steam building in to escape and prevent the milk for boiling over. The reducing will take a good hour or more (oops... sorry, forgot to make a note of how much time it exactly took me!) . If you have not made the khoya before-hand , this will be a good time to make it.
When the milk is very thick and almost reduced to half, add the sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the ground pistachios stirring continuously for about 10 minutes. We do not want the nuts to stick to the bottom and give a burnt smell, do we?? At the same time, we want the nuts soft and release that wonderful flavor into the milk. Add the khoya, stir in gently, simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the green color. Careful here!! Add very little at a time as green tends to turn a scary green very soon!! I was sacred that the color I have added may have been a little too much. In that case, I would have posted Halloween Kulfi Witches...lol!! Uh..or is it looking a tad too green??
Allow the mixture to cool completely, add the pistachio essence. Fill in kulfi molds or in matkas. Cover with cling film if using matkas. Freeze till firm.
If you want to use ice-cream sticks, cover the mold with small squares of cling film tightly, make a tiny slit in the center with a sharp knife. Insert the stick in and freeze. This trick ensures the stick is upright in the middle of the kulfi and not at a crazy angle:-)
This kulfi mold stand comes in quite handy for filling the molds and keeping them upright in the freezer. I made 6 kulfis and froze the rest of the mixture in an ice tray. Stick small plastic toothpicks in the ice tray using a cling film and you get small cute little cubes of kulfi for the kiddies.
Unmold when fully frozen and well set. Run a knife around the inner edges of the mold and invert on the serving platter. If you have used sticks, run a knife around the kulfi and pull it out with love... gen...tly! Garnish with finely chopped pisatchios and serve.
Wish You A Very Happy Diwali!!