Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Perfumed Garden: Cardamom-Rose Kulfi

This recipe is my entry for the Spice is Right III, a spice-oriented food blogging event hosted by Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries. The theme this time around is "The Perfumed Garden", where the challenge is to combine edible flowers with spices in a recipe. I was thrilled when I learned about the theme, because I just returned from India with a large bag of some Gulkand or Rose Jam. This is nothing but fresh rose petals mixed with sugar and allowed to "cook" under the blazing tropical sun yielding a dark red, thick, gooey rose-scented jam.
I love eating a spoonful of gulkand occasionally as a little pick-me-up; it is also used as a sweet filling in some Indian dessert recipes. This time around, I decided to use it in a kulfi. The pairing of rose and cardamom ends up being subtle and dreamy, a perfect end to a meal. For the kulfi base, I modified this recipe from BBC food. Gulkand is so sweet that the kulfi does not need another sweetener like sugar or condensed milk.

Cardamom-Rose Kulfi

Serves 4-5, Preparation Time: 10 minutes (not including freezing time)
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 small carton (half pint) heavy cream
2-3 tbsp gulkand (rose jam) (or more to taste)
2 tbsp milk
1 heaped tsp cornflour
1 tsp cardamom powder
1. Stir in the cornflour into the milk and set aside.
2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the evaporated milk until it is almost boiling.
3. Add the cornflour-milk mixture and the heavy cream and boil for a minute (to cook the cornflour).
4. Take off the heat, allow it to cool almost to room temperature, then stir in the cardamom and gulkand.
5. Pour into a container and set in the freezer. Mix up the kulfi every 2 hours to break any ice crystals. It should set in 8-10 hours at the most.
6. Serve small scoops of the kulfi with extra gulkand on the side if desired.

I was absolutely thrilled with the result! It was so subtle and aromatic, a real treat for the taste-buds. I know I will be making this recipe again and again (till the precious gulkand lasts, anyway)! Next time, I might tweak the recipe a little bit:
1. A few drops of beet juice might add a lovely rosy hue.
2. A couple of drops of rose essence might add more rose flavor (although I like the subtle taste just as well).
3. I think toasted crushed almonds would work really well in this recipe and add an extra flavor dimension.

If you happen to live in the NYC area, don't forget that June is Rose Month at the New York Botanical Gardens. I was just there last week and the roses are breath-takingly gorgeous! My favorite rose there: "Gourmet Popcorn"

Thanks for hosting, Barbara! I loved participating in this event.


  1. I've had the recipe for Gulkand ice-cream from Tarla Dalal's mithai book for a long time. Never had the courage to try it. Now I'm tempted to. Thanks Nupur for sharing this.

  2. Another must-try for me Nupur. In fact, I have gulkand on hand...

  3. Hi Nupur,
    Cardamom-Rose kulfi.. name itself is infused with so much flavor.. Looks delicious.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Nupur,
    I am a great fan of ur blog.My mom's from kolhapur and her style is same as urs.Now if i have to cook something new i can call mom or look it up ...if its on ur blog. During India trip i had gulkhand falooda ....did search for some recipes with gulkhand since i came back...finally here's something i can rely on.Keep up the good work.

  5. Nupur, I don't have gulkand but I have roses and I have lots and lots of scorching hot sun. Do you have a recipe for gulkand?

  6. Cardamom and rose - never had that combination but I'm absolutely about to :) Sounds simply beautiful!

  7. wow, Nupur. Looks great. Gulkand and kulfi, that too when summer is settling in -- Perfect timing.

  8. hi nupur, thanx for the thanda thanda cool cool surprise. what a treat to beat the bombay heat. luv, yoma.

  9. That is a beautiful combo!!

  10. wow, you just made me relaize it has been way to long since i have had some good kulfi (or any)... need to go find or make some

  11. Very interesting recipe, thank you for posting. I have tasted rose syrup before, but not gulkand. Do you have a recipe for making gulkand? I would appreciate it so much if you can post it.
    Thank you

  12. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the comments!

    Manisha and Archanat, no, I'm sorry but I don't have a recipe for making gulkand. All I know is that rose petals and sugar are mixed and set in the sun till the mixture gets syrupy. We would never have that kind of blazing sun in the Atlantic northwest where I currently live!
    Please do keep in mind that these would have to be organically grown roses that are safe for consumption.

  13. You're so sweet to remember about the mandoline, I had forgotten that we talked about it. Anyway, I am excited to try out my new one. Isn't that just the sweetest gift from a student. It's one of the best gifts I've gotten.

  14. Hi Nupur,

    What brand do you buy or recommend ?

  15. This looks wonderful and I love that this has no eggs in it! Many thanks for posting the recipe, Nupur.


  16. Hi LG, sorry but I don't remember the brand I used (I poured the contents of the pouch into a jar and threw away the pouch many days ago)...but I think all the brands I have eaten so far have been equivalent.

    Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by! Yeah, kulfi (Indian ice cream) traditionally contains no eggs at all.

  17. Dear Nupur

    This is the second recipe i tried and like the first (which was pav bhaji) this was an abs success!!! it was for a party so cannot thank you enough for it...

    Love your site and adore your innovative recipes

  18. Nupur, I made this recently and the flavors are incredible! I skipped adding cornflour + milk and my ice cream still has some ice crystals. Medha loves the crunch they give so no-one at home is really complaining but I was wondering if this might be the reason it's not smooth and creamy?

  19. Manisha- I'm glad you all enjoyed the flavors! Yes- the cornflour is what thickens the mixture and makes it smooth so skipping it would result in kulfi with lots of ice crystals. I would definitely recommend trying it with the cornflour to see if you like it better.

  20. I made this kulfi for a party and added the chopped nuts as mentioned. I also added some red food coloring to get a pinkish shade.The flavor was just AWESOME! I could not believe that I could churn out something this tasty :))... Great recipe!


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