A little kingfisher told me this weekend’s set to be HOT. British temperatures might not top the roaring heat of the Rajasthani desert that these chaps will cycle through for charity come autumn; but you’ll certainly need to know what to eat to beat that heat.
Counter-intuitively, hot food cools the body. As a rule, the mercury of India’s food moves North as you head South – chillies actually making you chillier by starting you sweating. But although the head may heed the science bit, the heart can’t resist the clarion call of the ice cream van.
The Pavlovian response caused by the tinny tinkle of a piped nursery rhyme rouses one from a heat-induced torpor; sending you scurrying for a handful of coins and out onto the pavement in a panic. An ice cream won’t cool you like a curry, but the mere thought of a 99 gets you hot under the collar.
So this summer, I implore you to spice your ice. For something super-simple, take your cue from The Incredible Spicemen, who introduced Britain to the brilliant and bonkers notion of sprinkling your soft-serve cone with cinnamon and chilli powder.
Sold? There’s plenty more icy Indian inspiration to explore. From these indulgent, creamy kulfis to the sweet’n’sour sorbets I’ll share for you to salivate over next week, these ices will make your summer very cool – no matter how warm the weather.
You know that ad depicting the delicious agony of awaiting your Haagen Dazs to soften sufficiently to allow you to slide your spoon into its icy depths? Kulfi’s composition means you’ll be in the same position. India’s ice cream is traditionally made with milk that’s slow-stirred until it’s reduced; now oft-substituted with ready-condensed and evaporated products for expedience.
Kulfi could be called a triple-threat treat; owing its devilish decadence to the creaminess of rich, high-fat milk; its silken smoothness to low water content, and its density to the fact air is not introduced through churning. Matka kulfi is an icy delight with an extra-velvety bite – slow-freezing in unglazed earthenware pots prevents crystallisation.
A true original
To set the scene, peruse Pamela Timms’s post on Pandit Kuremal’s 1908 Rabri Recipe, sold in Delhi to this day.
- Pistachio kulfi from One Hot Stove
- Almond & Pistachio kulfi from Zesty South Indian Kitchen
- Pistachio & cardamom kulfi from Cook In A Curry
- Walnut, cardamom and rosebud kulfi from My Tamarind Kitchen
- Walnut & cherry kulfi from One Hot Stove
- Anjeer-akhrot (fig & walnut) kulfi from One Hot Stove
- No-cook mango kulfi from Veg Recipes of India
- Mango kulfi from My Diverse Kitchen
- Mango kulfi from Veg Recipes of India
- Custard apple kulfi from My Diverse Kitchen
- Watermelon kulfi from Awesome Cuisine
- Strawberry kulfi from My Diverse Kitchen
Spice & surprise
- Kujja (saffron & nut) kulfi from Awesome Cuisine
- Kesar badam kulfi from Cosmopolitan Currymania
- Kesar badam kulfi from Padhu’s Kitchen
- Kesar kulfi from Vegan Richa
- Malai kulfi from Hilda’s Touch of Spice
- Cardamom chai kulfi from Ravinder Bhogal
Like British brown bread ice cream? Try this Bread kulfi from Awesome Cuisine.
Not hot on DIY?
Try the Saffron and pistachio praline kulfi with pistachio brittle dust, pistachio brandy snap tuille and saffron jelly on Babur’s 29th Anniversary menu; Cafe Spice Namaste’s quirkly chocolate kulfi – made with Original Beans’ Cru Virunga; or award-winning kulfi from mobile vendor Indie Ices (see tricked-out tuk tuk Asha in pic above).
- The Arctic adventure’s not over – next week we’ll explore frosty fun in the form of Indian-inspired ice creams, lollies, sorbets, and faloodas… not forgetting the inimitable ice gola.