Indian Ice cream: Cardamom-Almond-Pistachio- Saffron-Kulfi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Kulfi: Indian Ice cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6-8
  • Saffron-Pistachio-Cardamom Indian Ice cream
  • 8 cups of Whole Milk - Half gallon
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 3 tablespoons of crushed salted pistachios ( the salt adds a nice balance to the sweetness in the ice cream )
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Almond Meal -this adds another level of nutty flavor and acts as a thickening agent
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 8 Cardamom pods - slighted crushed
  1. Place the 8 cups of milk in a heavy based pot
  2. Add the cardamom pods, saffron and sugar to the milk
  3. Bring to a slight boil, turn down heat and simmer.
  4. Keep scraping down the sides of the pot and stirring the cream that assembles on top of the milk back into the milk.
  5. You must keep stirring and never allow it to come to burn at the bottom or sides of the pot.
  6. After you have reduced the milk to a1/3rd of its original amount = approx 2.5 cups (discard the cardamom pods entirely.)
  7. Stir in the almond meal with the crushed pistachios.
  8. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes and thicken.
  9. Turn off the heat. Take the pot off the stove top; pour the mixture into a glass bowl and allow it to cool down completely.
  10. Based on your accessibility to an ice-cream machine and time on your hands, you have two options now:
  11. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Every twenty minutes stir up the ice-cream with the fork and break up the ice crystals that will form inevitably. As soon as the mixture begins to freeze up, scoop and place it into moulds and freeze tightly. Before serving, place into a hot water bath and slip out of moulds onto a pretty plate and garnish with chopped pistachios and couple of saffron strands.
  12. Or you can place the room-temperature mixture into an ice cream machine (I borrowed a friend’s Breville ice cream machine) and allow it to churn for an hour. It will stay cool in the machine for 3 hours after its done. After dinner, pull out some chilled martini glasses, and scoop the ice-cream into the glasses; garnish with a couple of saffron threads and crushed pistachios.
I started this recipe at 10pm. and didn’t realize that it would take an hour and half for the milk to reduce to ⅓ of the original amount. After I was done reducing the milk and took it off the stove and put it into the freezer at 11:30p.m. I decided to take a short nap that transitioned into a deep slumber until I got woken up by a phone call at 8 a.m.

I ran downstairs to my freezer and much to my dismay the entire mixture was frozen and full of ice crystals. I panicked and called a friend who told me to keep stirring it vigorously with fork. To my surprise I was able to bring it back to the consistency and room temperature it should have been before I put it into the freezer the night before. I then drove over to her house and borrowed her miraculous Breville Ice cream machine. I poured it into the machine and turned it on. Voila! I had Kulfi! There were a few ice crystals but minimal. it tasted delicious though!

Three Lessons learned:
Don’t take cat naps when making Kulfi.
Don’t start Kulfi ice-cream at 10p.m.
Buy an ice-cream machine. It’s not necessary but worth it. It saved my dessert.

Adapted from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, Barron’s Educational Series 2003
Recipe by Mumbai to Maine! at