Kuremal Kulfi – a Masterclass and Recipes

the best ice cream in delhi?

kuremal kulfi

The best ices in Delhi?  It’s a big claim, but these are kulfis with a pedigree.

The Kuremal family have been making kulfi in the old city since 1908 when Pandit Kuremal  left his ancestral village in Haryana at the age of 8 to seek fame and fortune in the big city. He learned the kulfi business with an Old Delhi Halwai (sweet -maker ) and by the time he was 14  had his own pushcart selling two flavours, plain rabri and mango.  Word spread and over the next 40 years Kuremal built the business to a multi-cart affair.

When Pandit’s  son Mahavir Prasad took over in 1975, he moved the business off the street and into its present shop, tucked in amongst the old havelis of Kucha Pati Ram, off Sitaram Bazaar.

mahavir prasad

mahavir prasad

Today the family makes over fifty varieties of kulfi, including  pomegranate,  tamarind, rose,  and custard apple.  There are even ices made from fruits I’d never even heard of, like falsa.

my favourite - falsa kulfi

falsa kulfi

For me, a visit  to Kuremal is always a highlight of any trip to Old Delhi – I usually manage to get through at least four  kulfis – there always seems to be something new to try.   I’ve recently discovered   the ‘Stuffed Kulfi’ – the orange and mango are particularly delicious. The stuffed mango  kulfi is made by taking out the mango stone and most of the flesh and filling it with   rabri, or plain kulfi mix.  When frozen, the skin is peeled away and the ice sliced to give a fabulous combination of rabri and frozen mango flesh.  The orange one has a tantalising, almost-there flavour, achieved when the rabri becomes infused with the orange zest during freezing.

mango kulfi

mango kulfi

When we visited last week we were given a kulfi masterclass  by Mahavir’s son,  Manoj Sharma and even managed to score a couple of their secret family  recipes. Kuremal still produce their kulfi in exactly the same low-tech fashion as they have always done.  Everything is done by hand and the only thing that has changed since 1908 is the arrival of giant chest freezeers.

Throughout, Manoj emphasised the importance of using the best ingredients.  Their creamy milk comes from Hapur Dairy in Uttar Pradesh.  They use only the finest, intensely-flavoured Alphonso mangoes.  They use a very specific type of pistachio – ‘Peshawri Pista lot number 101’ and their long saffron stems come from Kashmir or Afganistan.  Although at 450 rupees a gram, says a certain economics professor, there probably isn’t very much in each 25 rupee kulfi.  I never had a head for figures, but I think he’s being picky.

Pandit Kuremal’s 1908 Rabri Recipe

Makes 20-25 small kulfis

The main difference between rabri and western ice cream is that kulfi is milk, not custard-based and is frozen without churning, which gives a denser texture.

Ingredients

5 litres of full fat milk

400g sugar

100g cardamom seeds

150 mls kewra (screwpine water but rose water is a good substitute)

200g pistachio nuts, chopped (Kuremal’s Peshawar Pistachios are available at Old Delhi’s Khari Baoli spice market)

5g saffron (also available at Khari Baoli)

Method

1. Boil the milk  until reduced by about half, about 45 minutes to one hour. Sir frequently to prevent burning

2. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved

3. Cool in an ice bath for 3-5 hours.  At Kuremal, this is done in giant copper vats. At home, fill a basin with ice, then sit the bowl with the rabri mix on top.


rabri cooling

rabri cooling

4. When the rabri is cool add the cardamom, rosewater, pistachios, and saffron. Mix well and when the saffron has turned the rabri mellow yellow, spoon the mixture into kulfi moulds and freeze.

5. At this point, you could hollow out mangoes or  oranges and stuf f  with the rabri.


mangoes waiting to be stuffed

alphonso mangoes waiting to be stuffed

Kuremal’s Falsa Kulfi

Falsa is a tiny fruit which looks a bit like a reddish blueberry although its taste is sharper. It’s in season now and tumbling off carts all over Delhi.

Ingredients

2 Kg falsa berries

400g sugar

Half a litre of water

Juice of 2-3 lemons

1. Crush the falsa with the sugar to extract the juice.

2. Add the water to the juicy mass.

3. Put a fine muslin cloth over a bowl and tip the falsa mixture into it and press until all the juice is extracted.

4. Add lemon juice to taste.  At this point point, Kuremal add a dash of their secret masala formula.  I detect a hint of salt, cumin and cardamom.

5. Pour the juice into kulfi moulds and freeze

kulfi moulds

kulfi moulds

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34 thoughts on “Kuremal Kulfi – a Masterclass and Recipes

  1. Pingback: Kuremal’s Kulfis: Masterclass and Recipes | Eating Out in Delhi

  2. He learned the kulfi business in an Old Delhi Halwai (sweet shop )

    Halwai is a person who makes sweets, it doesn’t refer to a sweet shop. So the correct sentence here would be:

    He learned the kulfi business from an Old Delhi Halwai (sweet maker)

    🙂

    And your blog is a foodie’s delight! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the linguistic help, and encouraging comments. The blog’s new, still feeling my way.

    All the best

    Pamela

  4. You are welcome. One benefit for a foodie like me is that on your blog I come across a lot of new things too which I’ve never sampled. I didn’t know about Kuremal or Kucha Pati Ram, though I know about Sitaram Bazaar. Just asked mom & she know about this place, eh! 🙂

  5. hi pamela,
    came here via foodie blogroll …..n i am already feeling refreshed to see the kulfis here………i make some fruit kulfis n rabri myself and i find the quantity of saffron in the rabri recipe toooo much……..0.5 gm would be enough..these halwai cooks sometimes exaggerate the amount of costlier ingredients when they tell you the recipe………they’ll never part with the actual recipe…

    but this post gave me a major kulfi craving…….i’m gonna make it very soon.

  6. Thanks Sangita – I think you’re right about the saffron! Would love to hear how it turns out

    All the best

    Pamela

  7. simply simply simply LOVE kuremal’s…
    I go there in summers with an ice bucket and get the stuff home after gobbling some right there 😛
    cheers!

  8. Hi Pamela
    Thanks for the blog and recipe.

    Just had a week of kulfi tasting and tweaking, as well as the classics, we are introducing Cardomom, ginger and dark chocolate kulfi. We do churn the prepared mixture simply because its easier to serve and eat in a bowl, we scoop it like ice cream.

    Next time you are in London please look us up.

    What’s wrong with putting the rabri in the fridge over night and freezing it in the morning?

    As you, I have no idea what a falsa berry is!

    Plain Rabri is the best kulfi, every thing else is just a variation on the theme.

    I always thought that kulfi was always made with milk, can you call fruit lollies kulfi.

    Thanks, long way away from you all!

  9. This is really looking very attractive – to taste and to make!
    I tasted Kulfi in an Indian restaurant.
    Together with al the other food, the different spices, I had a heavenly feeling while eating!

  10. Hi Pamela,
    thanks for pointing out this awesome kulfi joint. I went today, the shop was closed but a bystander pointed out another shop where the owner with a some of his help was lazing. Apparently from diwali to holi they focus only on catering and no retail sale. But when I explained how I came searching for his shop, he was gracious enough to offer me and my family a helping of 3 flavours; fruit cream, kesar-pista, and mango. Clearly the best kulfis I have had. They open their retail store from holi to diwali, so have to schedule another visit to delhi around that time 🙂

    Thanks
    Pi

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  12. A wow read. Came after learning it as one of the Times’ 25 Authentic Asian Experiences >> www (dot) time (dot) com /time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1934455_1940567_1939925,00.html

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