Malai Kulfi – an Indian ice cream

Malai kulfi recipe

Cleaning out my pantry a couple of days back, I came across two cans of evaporated milk whose shelf life was about to get evaporated. Wracking my brain as to how to use both of them, I decided to make some kulfi. It’s summer, and I realized I haven’t made too many cold desserts this year.

Malai Kulfi


Kulfi is a cross between an ice cream and pudding. A frozen dessert, it can be called ice cream’s first cousin, but its much creamier and denser. The one I made is ‘malai’ kulfi flavor, the most basic recipe which also happens to be my son’s favorite. ‘Malai’ is cream of milk. As the name suggests, it’s is cooked-cream flavored, hence the name.


Creamy malai kulfi


I remember running after the kulfi walas in our neighborhood as a child, much like modern day ice cream trucks. They used to keep large ‘matkas’ – earthen pots full of ice on carts and have the kulfis in aluminum cans inside it. They would have a bell and call out ‘Kulfi le lo kulfi ( take kulfi, take kulfi). As times changed, and we became more familiar with ice-cream, kulfi took a back seat. As they say, nostalgia comes and knocks in many ways. Guess what? I have kids who choose kulfi over ice creams on a regular basis. Something I could never have imagined as a child!


5.0 from 5 reviews
Malai Kulfi - an Indian ice cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
A rich creamy frozen dessert very similar, but not exactly, ice-cream
  • 2 cans Evaporated milk (12 fl oz) 354 ml each (if you want to make from milk, see notes)
  • 1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
  • 1 pint (236 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp ground pistachio and few saffron threads to garnish (See notes)
  1. Reserving one cup of milk, empty the rest of the evaporated milk in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Dissolve the milk powder in the reserved cup of evaporated milk. Make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Mix this milk back into the pan.
  4. Heat the milk, and let it come to boil. Keep stirring it with a spatula so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan, else it will become bad.
  5. Add condensed milk, rose water and cardamom powder.
  6. Cook on low for 10 minutes, until it looks smooth. Take it off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
  7. Whip up the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar.
  8. Once the milk has cooled down, fold in the milk into the cream and whip until it's nicely blended.
  9. Pour into kulfi moulds or a large closed container and freeze for 2 hours.
  10. Serve in kulfi moulds or cut into squares and serve on plates garnished with ground pistachios and saffron strands.
  1. ) If you want to make from milk, then boil 1.5 liters of milk, and simmer it till it reduces to less than half of its quantity. Keep stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Then follow the rest of the steps.
  2. ) In malai kulfi, do not add too much of pistachio or saffron, otherwise it changes in taste. If you want a more saffron taste, then dissolve saffron in half cup of warm milk and mix with the rest of the milk mixture while cooking.


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17 comments for “Malai Kulfi – an Indian ice cream

  1. August 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    I think you have smart boys, Minnie. I’d choose this too! It sounds wonderful and looks terrific in those photos!
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Licorice Ice CreamMy Profile

    • August 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Now a days even I have become a bit partial 😀

  2. August 26, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    I love cardamom and so nice to see it’s in this creamy ice cream! I’m planning to get rose water soon too then I can also try this recipe!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Japan Trip 2013 vol. 2My Profile

    • August 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      If you love cardamom, you will love this.

  3. August 26, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I love this kulfi… one of my favs
    Praveen Kumar recently posted..PanchamirtamMy Profile

    • August 27, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Thank you Praveen!

  4. August 26, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    I’m not at all familiar with this dessert, Minnie, but I sure wish I was. If it is good enough for children to prefer it over ice cream, it must be very good! I don;t know if I’d make this just yet but I will definitely look for it on a menu next time we go to a favorite Indian restaurant. Thanks for today’s lesson. 🙂
    ChgoJohn recently posted..Ramps Ravioli with Morel MushroomsMy Profile

    • August 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Do give it a try John, it’s really worth it 🙂

  5. August 26, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    I love kulfi, all kinds and malai is one ofmy favourites. My kids love kulfi too and I’d say they prefer kulfi over regular ice cream too! In Houston, we had a great kulfi and falooda place which I miss incredibly being here. I think this is by far the best use for tins of evap milk! Your malai kulfi looks incredible!
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Roasted Green Chilli, Corn and Black Bean SalsaMy Profile

  6. August 26, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    I’ve never made an ice cream that has to be baked. I’m also not familiar with this dessert but I grew up with cans of evaporated milk in the pantry AT ALL TIMES and we used it in so many desserts. I’d love to try this xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..A Sunday at Sirius CoveMy Profile

  7. CCU
    August 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Loving ice cream like this 😀
    It looks so perfect!

    Choc Chip Uru
    CCU recently posted..Guest Post #8: Ensaymada BunsMy Profile

  8. August 27, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    kulfi looks perfectly done and absolute melt-in-mouth creation,terrific recipe 🙂
    Kumar’s Kitchen recently posted..CURRIED COMFORT:CHICKPEA STEW…GHUGNI 🙂My Profile

  9. August 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    So rich and creamy-looking! Sigh, the story of the ice cream truck brings memories back from the 1950-s and 60’s, when the ice cream truck came rambling down our street, with its music tinkling out of the speaker. All the kids would run out and buy some ice cream- it was such a magical moment for the child to see the ice cream man come down the street!
    Fran@ G’day Souffle’ recently posted..Rustic Deep Dish Peach and Berry PieMy Profile

  10. August 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    What a coincidence! I just discovered one can in my pantry that I need to use up before it expires Minnie. We love Kulfis anyway so why not try your gorgeous recipe!

  11. September 6, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Looks so yumm.. I have not tried it this way..

  12. Giri
    July 19, 2017 at 5:01 AM

    Can we consider the expiry date of a kulfi as 2 months max at deep freeze condition.

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