Two melting ice cream servings with paper molds in the background on a bright yellow surface
Photography, Nassima Rothacker

Quick Pistachio Kulfi

Chef Chetna Makan's easy recipe for a classic Indian frozen dessert.

Kulfi – a traditional frozen dairy dessert from India – is made with a base of milk and thick cream, but it differs slightly from the North American style of ice cream. It’s not whipped and is traditionally much denser, which comes with a huge upside: a much slower melting time. This recipe, from Indian-British chef and writer Chetna Makan’s forthcoming cookbook, is perfect for enjoying on long hot days in the sun.

You can purchase traditional kulfi molds online or from some specialty retailers, but a normal popsicle mold will work just as well. Makan also encourages some creativity with the flavourings: “Once you have made the base, feel free to add your own flavours instead of the pistachio,” she writes. “Why not try rose (using rosewater), almonds or cashew nuts?”

Chetna’s Indian Feasts: Everyday Meals and Easy Entertaining is on sale in Canada on August 17.

Two melting ice cream servings with paper molds in the background on a bright yellow surface

Indian Ice Cream With Pistachios

Chetna Makan's recipe for pistachio kulfi, a traditional Indian frozen dairy dessert.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8


  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml English double cream
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp milk powder
  • 100 ml condensed milk
  • 30 g (1 oz) pistachio nuts crushed to a coarse powder, plus extra lightly crushed pieces to decorate


  • Put the milk and cream into a saucepan. Bring to 
the boil over a low heat, then cook over a low heat for 
5 minutes.
  • Add the cardamom, milk powder and condensed milk to the pan and mix well, then continue to cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir in the pistachio powder. Mix well, then set aside to cool completely.
  • You can use proper cone-shaped kulfi moulds, 
ice-lolly moulds or a plastic or glass freezer-proof container in which to freeze the kulfi. If using moulds, divide the mixture between 8 moulds, seal and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, dip the moulds in boiling water for 2 seconds, then slide the kulfi out 
of the mould (onto a serving plate, if using kulfi moulds) and serve immediately, decorated with crushed pistachio nuts.

A teal blue cookbook titled "Chetna's Indian Feasts" in a light tan frame

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