When I was young, my parents and I would often go to the 5 gardens at Parsi colony to spend an evening. My mom would carry a little picnic basket with a mat, plastic cups, water, tissue paper and other items. I forget which of the 5 gardens we would go to, but I think it was usually the one in the centre.
There used to be many stalls selling food, but it was always pav bhaji for us, followed by kulfi! While the pav bhaji was delicious, it was the kulfi that I still remember, probably because I haven’t eaten kulfi from a street vendor in ages.
The stall owner used to store the kulfi in old fashion ice boxes and would draw out a packet when you ordered it, remove the kulfi and place it on a large green leaf, cut it into squares and then serve it to you on a plastic plate. The simple malai (cream) kulfi was everyone’s favourite, but you could order saffron & pistachio or almond, mango when in season, sometimes orange (though quite rare) and other fruit-based varieties. You could also have a mixed plate and try a little bit of all flavours.
As a kid, I also used to enjoy eating kulfi with falooda and sabja (basil) seeds at the ‘Moghlai’ restaurants in the city. Or sometimes just order a falooda with everything dunked into a tall glass. Rose falooda used to be a favourite but as I became older, I outgrew the taste, as I did with all things pink including strawberry ice cream 🙂
Recently my mother managed to send me the classic aluminum kulfi moulds from Mumbai. And I realized it was time to bring kulfi onto the BHDC menu. Since Alphonso mango season was also approaching, it made perfect sense to add mango kulfi to the summer menu! With a small Singapore twist – I replaced the falooda noodles with chendol noodles. These are green coloured noodles made with green gram/rice flour and pandan juice (screwpine leaves) and typically served with chilled coconut milk and gula melaka (palm sugar).
Mango Kulfi (adapted from http://www.whiskaffair.com/2014/05/kesar-mango-kulfi.html)
- 500ml full fat milk
- 125 ml condensed milk
- 2-3 tbsp cream
- 1/2-3/4 cup mango puree (depending on intensity of the mango taste)
- 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 1 tbsp pistachios
- 5-6 strands of saffron
- Toast the blanched almonds and pistachios lightly and then grind them into a coarse powder
- Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pan on a low heat and keep stirring to prevent the milk from burning from the bottom. Add the saffron strands and continue stirring occasionally till the milk reduces by half
- Mix the cornflour with a little water, and once the milk has reduced add the cornflour, condensed milk, cream and ground nuts to the milk. Stir well and cook for another 4-5 mins, till the mixture thickens slightly.
- When the mixture cools down, add the mango puree and mix well.
- Pour into the kulfi moulds and allow them to set in the freezer, ideally overnight
- To remove the kulfi from the moulds, insert the mould into a cup of water for 1-2 seconds. Then turn it upside down onto the serving dish and gently tap to release the kulfi
- To serve, garnish with slivered pistachios and/or almonds. Or if you want to make it more indulgent, you can add falooda/chendol noodles, soaked sabja seeds, slivered nuts and rose petals