Kulfi likely originated in the Mughal Empire, which ruled India in the 16th to 18th centuries. It was prepared in royal kitchens using ice brought in from the Himalayas. This is documented in the Ain-i-Akbari, a detailed record of the Mughal emperor Akbar’s administration.
Kulfi is a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian Subcontinent. It is often described as “traditional Indian Subcontinent ice cream”. It is popular throughout places such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma (Myanmar), and the Middle East, and widely available in Indian restaurants in Australia, Europe, East Asia and North America.
As popularly understood, Kulfi has similarities to ice cream in appearance and taste, however it is denser and creamier. It comes in various flavours. The more traditional ones are cream (malai), rose, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar or zafran), and pistachio. There are newer variations such as apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and avocado. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard-based ice cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.
Traditionally in India, kulfi is sold by vendors called kulfiwalas, who keep the kulfi frozen by placing the moulds inside a large earthenware pot called a matka, filled with ice and salt. It is served on a leaf or frozen onto a stick. It can be garnished with pistachios, cardamom, and similar items.
See an easy recipe to prepare Kulfi at RECIPE YARD.