Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Dream of Summer: Pistachio Kulfi

By the time mid-February rolls around, people around here get very fidgety. And by people, I mean me. It feels like winter has been around for years, and I am eager to bypass the next few weeks on the calendar and head straight for April or May, when the fresh produce finally hits the markets and when I can go for a walk without 10 minutes of coat-buttoning and scarf-wrapping.

When friends invited us for pizza night at their home yesterday,  I decided to stop whining about the weather and cheer myself up by making one of my favorite summer desserts, kulfi. Kulfi, an Indian frozen dessert, is traditionally made by evaporating the heck out of whole milk, constantly stirring it for hours, until it reduces to a thick slurry, then adding sugar and spices like cardamon and saffron, or nuts or fruits. Unlike custard-based ice creams, kulfi does not contain eggs. The taste is sublime, rich and creamy, closer to Italian gelato than to aerated ice cream.

My happiest kulfi memories are from Chowpatty beach in South Bombay, where my family loyally patronizes one tiny kulfi shop. Their malai kulfi, the most basic flavor, is sublime but I really enjoy the mixed kulfi, where you get to enjoy small slabs of different flavors- kesar pista (saffron pistachio), orange, strawberry and mango- all on one dish (like one of the plates in this pic).

The traditional method for making kulfi is very labor intensive, and certain short-cuts have been devised to make the process easier on the home cook. You can start off with evaporated milk, sold in cans in supermarkets all over the US, and also use cornflour (cornstarch) as a thickener to help the process along, like in the rose kulfi I posted before. In the US, people have come up with kulfi recipes that use supermarket ingredients and don't involve any cooking at all, and that's the method I used when I made this fig walnut kulfi.

Kulfi is usually just poured into molds and frozen, without using an ice cream maker, which is very lucky because I don't own one anyway. But I did blend it a few times during the freezing process to get rid of most of the ice crystals since my milk mixture was not as thick as it could have been.

PS: I am going through an unfortunate food phase where I want to add rose water to everything. That's why this particular kulfi has Persian flavors reminiscent of falooda. But add saffron for a more traditional version.

Pistachio Kulfi
(for about 6 servings)

1) In a heavy pan, combine
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 cups milk (I used 2%)

2) Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring often for 20-30 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by a third or so. Be sure to scrape all the milk solids at the side of the pan into the mixture.

3) Dissolve 2 tsp. cornstarch (cornflour) in 2 tbsp. cold milk. Stir it into the boiling mixture and let it cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture thickens.

4) Turn off the heat. Stir in
23 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
13 cup pistachios, toasted lightly and ground to a fine powder
1 cup cream
1 tsp. cardamom powder
1 large pinch of saffron OR 2 tsp. rose water

5) Let the mixture cool. Pour it into a sturdy lidded container and place in the freezer. Let it chill for 2 hours, then remove it from the freezer every hour and churn it with a spatula to break up the ice crystals. Do this 4-5 times, then let the kulfi freeze until you serve it.

For a variation, set the kulfi in popsicle molds instead.

The homemade pizzas that our friends served were more delicious than anything I have eaten in a pizzeria- they made 3 delicious variations, including an unusual one with barbecue sauce and a topping of onions and peppers. The cool creamy kulfi was an enjoyable end to the meal.

***  ***  ***

I read this interesting article today that talks about something that's on my mind a lot- thinking of how much trash I generate while going about everyday life when so many things we touch are thrown away within minutes. The post mentions the "psychological hurdle" of doing things that are different from the norm and I found myself nodding in agreement. For myself, I believe that every single little thing does count. I am not naive enough to believe that I am saving the planet by mopping spills with a dishcloth instead of a paper towel. And I am not cynical enough to think that small everyday habits don't accumulate to make us more aware and more conscious of our actions.

I still can't get myself to bring containers everywhere. When I bought a cup of hot chocolate on Friday, it did come in a lidded cup that I tossed in the trash. I have a long way to go.

But here's one action that has become second nature for me- taking my own bags to the grocery store and to produce markets. My pet peeve used to be those thin plastic bags that you use for produce. I knitted myself a sleeve (pattern here) to organize all my produce bags, and now I reuse them. If a bag gets soiled after a few uses, it gets one final use, to pick up after the dog, and then ends up in the trash.
The picture below is stash of bags that I have finally learned to grab every single time I go to the store. I have learned to say, "Thank you, but I'll use my own bags" quickly before the cashier starts to bag my groceries. There have been a few times when the store clerk has glared at me and made me feel like a trouble maker. But more often, they are very accommodating. And other shoppers sometimes notice my bags and remark that they should try to remember to bring their own bags too. It is one small step.

Have you made any small change in your life to make it less wasteful? Share it in the comments- I'm always looking for new ideas.


  1. This dessert sounds absolutely amazing! I'm pretty sure adding rosewater to food is not unfortunate...delicious maybe. I would if I could find it anywhere!

  2. So many conflicting emotions - I want to make and eat that pista kulfi NOW (ok, I'll make it for the dinner party I'm having on Thursday instead..) but I am shocked at the amount of milk and cream that goes into kulfi. No, I knew it theoretically, but seeing "1 cup cream" is still awesome. So I wonder if I really want to eat kulfi when I'm dieting, but then, it's pista kulfi...

    You know, a supermarket in NJ used to give me a very hard time with my own bags. They regularly refused, variously citing "store policy" (I had to carry plastic bags with their brand label printed on them!), "security hazard" and "hygiene issues." BIZARRE. I always got into a fight. Then there was the desi store, also in NJ, where the woman at the checkout counter told me to stop being "ganvaar" by bringing my own cloth bags, and behave properly like I was in the US now! Go figure.

    Finally - sorry for the looong comment, but you inspired me to clean up my own blog space a bit. Been thinking about it for a while but seeing your new white, clean look made me go do it. Thanks, and the new digs look great!

  3. One change I made was to stop using disposable sanitary napkins. I use washable cloth ones now...bought a set from a vendor on eBay. I could go on and on about how brilliant they are but I am not sure that would be appropriate in the comments section of a food blog :-). It is worth spreading the word, though.

  4. Pistachio kulfi looks delish. I made mango kulfi a while back, but haven't had a chance to take pictures or post.
    I take my own bags for grocery shopping, but our local farmer's market does not allow us to take our own bags, which is a little annoying to me, but what can I do when they have a large sign saying that at the entry.
    I love your sleeve for the plastic bags, I need to come up with something like that to organize my bags too--they are all over my drawers..
    Have a wonderful week. Oh..btw your new blog look is awesome.

  5. Aaah Kulfi!!! My fav kulfi vedor was the 'bahiyya' who strolled thru our colony on summer nights yelling '..fiiiyyyyyo' he would pop the cones out of aluminium , well..cones, and deftly slice them on a thick leaf or u could ask for him to make a candy out of it.

    I too carry reusable bags ( I do forget sometimes, specially if I am out for a walk and suddenly remember I need something)I have a bag 'organizer'(?) from Ikea, where i stash all the poly bags that I get when I do not carry my reusable one.And when possible (read, when I have a load) recycle any empty bottles, water gallons.

  6. Kulfi has been on my to try list for a long time. If making kulfi can somehow fast forward to early Spring I am going to make it soon.

    I have reached that stage of reusablilty yet. For the last couple of block parties in the neighborhood we added a statement for people to bring in their own reusuable glasses and plates. I was quite surprised that quite a few brought in their own. I am sure a few summers from now everyone will be bringing their own.

  7. nupur, count me in on the "where is summer" bandwagon.. i love kulfi too, will try it ,hmm maybe today itself!
    as for recycling, i am limited to taking my own grocery big bags.. not these ones.. it bothers me but didn't think of taking them back and using them. thanks!!

  8. Your fig walnut kulfi sounds to die for!! I need to make this..maybe next weekend.

    You are so right- even though small actions may not change the world- they do accumulate.
    Changes I've made: I have considerably reduced/almost stopped using paper towels in the kitchen- instead I use these ugly yellow microfiber cloths (I bought them in bulk at costco on a whim and decided they needed to be put to good use). I use them for everything from drying dishes to cleaning the kitchen counter and dusting.

    Also I have stopped using plastic trash bags and use my stock of TJ paper bags as trash bags..It is a pain as they fill up fast but till I run out of them, I will probably continue doing that. Your sleeve looks so cute- I ended up buying a small contraption to store and reuse plastic bags which has proved to be quite useful.

    I've also stopped using any product- shampoo, soap, laundry detergent etc. that use petroleum products and tried making my own cleaning liquid with vinegar, baking soda and castile soap using the earth scrub cleaner recipe in this link:

    However, at some point because of grad school work etc. I had sort of stopped thinking of more ways to reduce waste- thank you for the reminder to restart the process

  9. kulfi...brings back memories..

    yeah reusing bags is a responsible thing

  10. We dont generate much trash these days after I started making compost. I use the veggie scraps from my kitchen, old newspapers, cardboard, pieces of yarn(cotton/wool) in a storage box drilled with holes. The decomposition is slow but its winter now. I live in a condo so have kept the box. Hope to mine some "black gold" by summer.

  11. Hi Nupur I live in toronto canada. Here all stores charge 5c per plastic bag so people including me have started bringing their own bags. Now I carry bags like we do in india for shopping. I feel very proud doing so. I think US should also bring in laws like this.

  12. Pistachio Kulfi? Anytime! :) Just had it yesterday. I have had tried it at home yet. I want to buy the aluminium kulfi molds since a long time.
    Whenever we visit to Mumbai, my Mom take us to Kulfiwalah (Bhuleshwar area). I still remember that Kulfiwalah stores in the kulfis in big earthen pot (what we used for Water in India) and he serves our kulfi in banana leaves i think. And it measures in grams using our traditional scales. A lot of memories has recollected now. :)

    Well, I have been trying to be more and more eco-friendly. Yes, like you I use my own bag for shopping. And I always keep a large (folded) plastic bag in my handbag and use it when necessary. I use my kitchen cloth towels for make my kitchen spic-n-span rather to use paper-towels.

  13. i love your kulfi, Nupur! and why unfortunate, I love rose water in everything, so go on adding it :) You know the good thing about winter, I can keep knitting scarves (which is one thing I love to knit) without getting weird glares that I get when knitting scarves in summer. Now, its a different matter, that I have more scarves than I can ever use in CA winters, but well.. :)

    I started bringing my own coffee mug to the office a year ago. I am a caffeine addict and I was really happy about not wasting 5*52*3 paper cups for the year!

  14. Joanne- Oh, rose water is indeed wonderful, and I see you live in NYC, so you will definitely be able to find rose water in Kalyustan's at 28th and Lexington. A bottle runs 2-3$ and lasts a lifetime (unless you keep adding it to everything). Rose water can be found in all Middle Eastern markets.

    Desiknitter- I know, kulfi is a decadent dessert! But honestly, it is so rich and good that one small scoop will leave you completely satisfied and happy.
    I am so appalled to hear of your experience in the NJ stores. If a store employee was rude enough to do that to me, I would just reach out, shake their hand and say, "congratulations, you just lost a good customer". Things will change only when we vote with our wallets. Their excuses of store policy and hygiene are simply pathetic and hold no water.

    Reva Garde- Now that is just awesome- I applaud you. No, comments on menstrual supplies are not inappropriate at all; most women deal with it for decades after all! Nothing to be ashamed about.
    Reading your comment, I remembered that an old roommate of mine used this amazing cup-like device called "The Keeper"- very innovative but I never did muster up the courage to try it :D

    Pavani- Ooh, mango kulfi is divine! So sad about your Farmers' market, do they ban bags for security reasons? I don't get it, because after making one purchase, someone could still shop-lift by stealing items and putting them into the first bag. How do that help?

    Manasi- Oh yes, those aluminum cones are the signature kulfi molds. I also have that bag organizer from Ikea, have pasted it inside one of my kitchen closets to hold some other bags. You mention water gallons- you have to buy water where you live?

    indosungod- How nice to have people bring their reusable glasses and plates?! Kudos to you. That's my least favorite thing about big gatherings- the blasted paper plates and plastic glasses. Some of my old colleagues used to bring plates to office lunch meetings- that was very cool and inspiring.

    Mallugirl- So we are all pretty sick and tired of winter, eh? :D Taking the big bags is in itself a very good thing.

  15. Lavanya- The fig walnut kulfi really is to die for, I promise! You can make the cook or no-cook kulfi base, whatever you prefer and then add walnuts and figs.
    I've seen the microfiber cloths, they are very absorbent, aren't they? Alas, I use plastic trash bags for kitchen waste but only 1 per week which is not too bad. Thank you so much for the cleaner link; that has been on my mind, to buy castile soap in bulk and use it for absolutely everything. It sounds like you have already thought of so many ways to minimize waste- good for you!

    Trendsetters- Thanks

    Garden Dreamer- Ah, compost! So you just have a box in the condo? How cool- I am hesitating to set up composting until we have a backyard because of the tiny you use worms?

    Anonymous- Now that's a very good policy and the best incentive to get people to remember to bring their own bags! Here, some stores will give you 5 cents off your bill for each bag that you bring in, and one store enters you into a raffle to win free groceries if you bring your own bags, so there are some incentives. A bag surcharge would be perfect but somehow I don't see it happening too soon.

    Sonia- Oh yes, lots of vivid memories of matka kulfi :) I remember the chaos of my shopping trips to Bhuleshwar. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    PJ- Oh yes, knitting is the best thing about winter, I agree with you there :)
    Wow, you are saving tons (literally) of coffee cups from the landfill. Do your office mates bring their own mugs too?

  16. Lot of stores like sprouts, central market and I think even walmart and Ikea give you 5cents (per bag) back if your bring your own bags.
    Whenever we go out we never carry bottled water but a small flask which can keep our water cold. they are available every where and run around 7 dollars,

  17. I just love pista kulfi. It's been a very long time since I made/had one. Must make it soon.

    I too use my own grocery bags. I also use napkins/cloth to clean kitchen counter tops and the stove. Of course I buy paper towels but use them for things like sudden spills. I also have plans to start recycling.

    Btw, I just loved the sleeve you knitted for the produce bags.

  18. Hey Nupur,

    Was eagerly looking forward for the dessert and delighted to read that you made Kulfi-authentic homegrown dessert.Nupur,the Kulfi looks yummy..sure it must have been a drooling.Wish a virtual bite of the Kulfi was possible :-).Kulfi,at Chowpatty (New Kulfi Center), at Natural's (Matka Kulfi) and at few other places in Mumbai and in my home town ,is simply irresistible.Liked the idea of adding rose water flavor.
    Regarding our initiatives to reduce waste ;I have been using the E-cloth (available at the local grocery store here) , a microfiber engineered cloth by TADgreen Inc .The cloth has been effective in removing grease, oil,and dirt from all hard surfaces at home.Link - This has enabled me to reasonably minimize the usage of kitchen paper rolls.I use the local grocery store's reusable bag ,although at times,I do use the paper bags when the bag gets full the weekly stuff.

  19. Nupur, your kulfi is soooo droolworthy. It brought back memories of the kulfiwala making his rounds in our lanes late into the night in mumbai. Even now, whenever we are there, hubby and I make a trip to his local kulfiwala where we devour platefuls of the mixed kulfi, my fav flavor,chickoo!

    At our house we are avid recyclers and my recycle bin is way full than the trash can. I too have been carying my own cloth grocery bags. No more bottled water, carry water in reusable plastic and metal bottles. I am also an avid Freecycler and try to give unwanted items a second chance and avoid a trip to the landfill.

  20. Nupur, this sounds so delicious, bookmarked, can't wait to try this .

  21. Never tried Kulfi @ home, as we get it at every other galli whenever you want, but will give it a try soon

    About Plastic, it’s been some time now that Plastic bags are banned here and infact the store guys have put a board that if you want plastic bag then extra one rupee ! So I’ve been using cloth bag , infact you can give this a try, had given this a try too as we always give up our newspaper but this is creative and reusable !

  22. I love kulfi... and if I may ask, where is this little kulfi place? I love Parsi dairy kulfis and they have been a staple all my life...

    I have started using washcloths instead of paper towels in the kitchen. I still use paper but a lot less. I also have cloth shopping bags (but I have forgotten them on occasion) and a plastic bag organizer. We also recycle old plastic bags.

  23. I make kulfi regularly at home but that is only because mine is a no cook version ( I doubt if I'd have the patience to slave over a pot of milk in the heat here!

    Here in singapore, some super markets have a "bring your own bag day" once a month, but that changed my habit forever - now I carry mine. I do try to recycle stuff, but I know that I have a long way to go!

  24. Bringing your own bags to the grocery is a great step toward reducing plastic and paper use, and it helps to remember that there are not just larger environmental repercussions to the use of plastic bags, but more immediate ones. Some people might remember how the plastic bags used rampantly in India to buy groceries and vegetables clogged up the drains in Bombay during unusually heavy rains a few years back, exacerbating the floods that killed hundreds of people. Also in India, they sometimes turn into deadly food for innocent, starving cows wandering the streets who end up swallowing these bags.
    Thanks for a great post, Nupur. :)

  25. Hi Nupur,

    Thanks for your interest in composting. I am not doing vermi-composting(worms) even though thats the best and fastest way to compost inside an apt. For worm composting, you have to keep the box open under bright light. But the worms will come out if it gets too hot or during thunderstorms(weird, maybe thats why we see worms on the sidewalks after a rain storm). Poor guys.

    Anyway I just bought a huge rubbermaid storage box, drilled a few holes on all sides, filled with shredded newspapers, kitchen waste(veggie/fruits) and topped it off with 1 shovel of garden dirt. Keep mixing everytime you add something, and keep it as moist as a squeezed sponge. I have kept it outside on the patio below my deck(party shaded). I have no compost yet to boast off but I am going to try.
    Sorry for the long comment. If you are interested we could discuss more. Thanks.

  26. I store plastic grocery bags inside the huge bags that rice is packed in in the Indian stores.Also I reuse ziplock bags..unless they are very dirty ofcourse.I wash them and turn them inside out and dry them.I tend to use more containers than ziplock bags anyway.All my groceries are stored in empty pasta bottles,yogurt containers e.t.c,I use these containers for organizing my kids' toys as well.I try to use every scrap of paper for writing grocery lists e.t.cI try my best not to print out recipes and we never waste food.I encourage my kids to always take smaller portions...this is an interesting discussion.I wonder what ideas others have...Oh and when we have parties,I do reuse the plastic cutlery.Also my friends and I write names of the guests on the disposable glasses so that we can reuse them till the end of the party.

  27. ..well I forgot to add that where I work,they gave us our own mug and a water bottle for use..there are no disposable cups in the kitchen ..

  28. This recipe sounds very easy. I will give it a try.
    Awesome job on the bags. I have been thinking of going to reusable cloth bags way myself but failed miserably at it. I am going to keep trying:)

  29. Just this last week my sis who lives in Pune was asking me to buy some Kulfi moulds for her(ie Popsicle moulds)and she was asking if I could find any metal ones..but these days I see only plastic ones ..Do you have any idea where I can find metal ones or good suggestions for plastic ones?

    I love Kulfi and when I had been to Pune last time I remember all the wonderful flavors I enjoyed at the roadside....malai,strawberry,pista and what not...yummm!!!Your pic just reminds me of that...can u send some over?????...Nah..Just kidding..

    Anyway have fun!!!!!

  30. Hi, long-time lurker and big time fan :) Bet this will make you miss NYC but this definitely is encouraged here in the city. We take our bags everytime and they never have a problem using our cloth ones. My other change has been inspired by you! I started making yogurt! I use my mom's formula - boil milk a couple times over, add dahi. I then heat the oven till 175, switch it off and place it to set in the residual warmth. Alternatively if your heater is on in the winter you can place your utensil on it/ next to it.Sets beautifully!

  31. Oh and also, if you have been back to Bombay recently you might know. Sahakari Bhandar makes you pay for plastic bags. And if you bring your own and buy over Rs. 200, you get a Rs. 2 discount. I know - it's miniscule but I think psychologically these incentives work, no matter how small. I love that Mumbai is stepping up!

  32. You inspire me Nupur! Not just cooking but also with your thoughtfulness. It is the small gestures that make a big change. Way to go! I do reuse my plastic bags to the point of them tearing but the simpler solution is to just not bring home that many like you wisely do.

  33. Hi Nupur,

    Here in Germany, we have to pay for plastic/paper bags at the supermarket, so most people (including me) just bring their own. Also, what I really like is that Starbucks serves you coffee in porcelain mugs (certainly didn't happen in SD) and Lufthansa gives you metal cutlery instead of plastic ones :)) I've also almost stopped using paper towels unless I really HAVE to, so a roll lasts me a few months. The last thing is that I always always always print double sided (unless its a form or something that has a specification), and nag my labmates to do the same. Either that or I reuse the blank side of a single-sided print out as scrap paper for calculations etc. One last thing, I save plastic soda/water bottles and bring my own water on trips, so that I dont have to buy yet another bottle. I was once told that its a tacky "desi" thing to drink water out of a coke bottle (any guesses who that could have been?) but I was well past the point of caring by then.

    Ok, thats the longest comment ever. I admire you for being "the change that you want to see in the world".

    Love, Shoots :)

    ps. for some reason the name/URL option isn't working for me, so I choose to be anonymous :(

  34. Wow, Kulfi sounds amazing!! I will try the fig/walnut combo. I am lazy and hate boiling milk on the stove (always have burnt vessels to clean later) so I just use cans of evaporated whole milk. I don't add regular milk or cream - turns out great everytime. I tried using 2% evaporated milk too but that didn't turn out so well.
    Ita amazing how we are going back to the ways of our parents and grandparents after getting into wasteful habits... paper towels, for instance. I thought it was such an amazing convenience when I first came to the US.. its only now that I have gone back to using cloth that I realize how much more effective it is, and how I can totally bypass chemical cleaners (409, Windex) for the most part simply by using cloth for cleaning up.
    Other things I (try) to do - recycle paper at work by using the other side to print, using my own mug for tea instead of styrofome.. Reusing potting soil instead of buying new bags every spring.. but the biggest eye opener for me recently was when I came across a blog that talks about using plastic containers for growing plants ( It was like a lightbulb moment that opened up so many possibilities.. and now i am using for my plants my old stained ziploc containers that i didn't have the heart to use or throw away.. as well as the takeout/to go containers from restaurants.. the list goes on. sorry for the super long comment but I just couldn't resist.. :)

  35. wow. The kulfi looks wonderful, Nupur!

    I am on the way to be more "green". Will start by buying a reusable coffee mug, me thinking. :)

  36. awesome kulfi !! you have some patience you know. I like kulfi when others make it. I'm too lazy to make it myself..very laborious. Yours look creamy and nice.

    Hey thanks for suggessting me a book to read. I will be getting it from the library soon.


  37. Long way to go - but yes, I have atleast been taking my own bags to the supermarket every single time and also now taking the smaller plastic bags too which they use to weigh the veggies. I can't believe that people stare - maybe I just dont notice they do here?
    The government has banned plastic bags in Delhi, so that has sort of encouraged people to bring bags - but even then they dont mind sheling out another 5 bucks for the jute bags which the store provides..

  38. pistachios are a huge favorite so i am really loving this kulfi!
    i have a few canvas bags that i always take to the markets and supermarkets with me + a shopping basket. in germany plastic bags at the stores cost money, which is great because it animates everyone to bring their own. i love the way you've knitted a bag for your bags LOL!

  39. Vinita- Where I live, there are a couple of stores that will give 5 cents back for every bag used. I do wish more stores would try and offer that incentive. Carrying a bottle of water is a very good idea; I don't leave home without my bottle of water :)

    Amruta- I hope you get a chance to recycle soon; depending on where you live, it may be easy or challenging to find recycling options. Glad you like the bag sleeve!

    Gouri- Yes, everyone who tasted the kulfi enjoyed it very much :)
    I do miss Natural's ice cream too, I am in love with their tender coconut ice cream.

    Namita- Chickoo, how I miss that fruit and chickoo kulfi and ice cream, it has such a unique flavor.
    It is so nice when most of the trash goes into recycling rather than the landfill! I love freecycle too, and also the "free" category on Craigslist. Our space heater stopped working last week and I was so relieved that someone took it from me (free) instead of me throwing it in the dumpster.

  40. notyet100- Thanks

    Sreelu- I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    Kanchan- Oh you lucky girl, you have full access to kulfi any time :D
    The newspaper bag project looks great, last time I was in Mumbai, several stores such as Fab India were using those recycled newspaper bags! I reused those as gift bags here and the recipients were delighted.

    Cooking Foodie- This kulfi place that I love is a few steps away from the Sukh Sagar juice center/snack center on S. V. P. Road at Chowpatty, about a block west of Opera House.
    Isn't it nice to cut down on paper towels? Washcloths make it so easy.

    aquadaze- Yes, I made a similar no-cook version but I don't mind making this version on occasion either.
    How nice to know that having a bring-your-own-bag day just once a month can bring about such good changes!

    Vaishali- Oh, I so remember a decade ago when those thin plastic bags were used everywhere in Bombay and causing such problems, especially for poor stray animals :( and for people living in the slums who bore the brunt of everyone else's trash.
    We really need to go back to the times when common sense prevailed and everyone took a "thaila/pishvi" everywhere.

    Garden Dreamer- Your box sounds very do-able! Being in an apartment with the tiniest under-sink cabinet, I'm still debating whether to take the plunge. The best option for me would be if they set up community recycling somewhere near my home and I could just drop off my compostable trash there. Thanks so much for sharing your method!

    Geetha- That's a great use of the rice bags, I never know what to do with them! Your tips are great, thanks for sharing them. I especially like that you are teaching your kids to respect food and only take what they will eat- kudos to you!
    I think your workplace is awesome for putting in the policy of not using disposables; I cringe when I see office trash cans brimming with coffee cups and water cups that have each been used for 5 minutes.

    Smita- It can take weeks or months for a new behavior to become a habit, so keep trying and pretty soon, you'll be taking cloth bags to the store without even thinking about it.

    BDSN- I think you might find metal kulfi molds in kitchenware stores in India. Has your sis checked in stores in Pune?

    girlonthebridge- That's good to know, and hopefully the cloth bag trend will catch on everywhere quickly! I am thrilled to know that you have been making yogurt with great success :)
    It makes me so happy that Mumbai is implementing such policies. I remember that in smaller towns like Kolhapur, we always used cloth bags and still do, but in Mumbai for several years, plastic bags were used for even the smallest purchase, dozens of times a day. Glad that is changing.

  41. Sangeetha- Well, we all inspire each other, that's the only way we'll make some changes on this sad little planet :D

    Shoots- Hello girl! How awesome that Starbucks serves coffee in mugs; it just goes to show you that it can be done, as long as people and companies have their priorities right.
    Tacky desi thing LOL, like you, I am well past the point of caring and people are welcome to give me whatever labels they want. I would reuse bottles like that for a long time, but knowing that they are made of all kinds of suspect plastics, I now bought a "proper" water bottle and it is easier to clean too. I take it around everywhere the way babies travel with their milk bottles :D
    I'm so glad you are reusing paper in lab, sometimes just watching other people make these choices is incentive for others to follow. We use way too paper anyhow!

    Nisha- You are SO right, we are just going back to the sensible habits of our parents and grandparents. I have also come full circle, using all kinds of cleaning products just because they are sold in stores, and now going back to basics and feeling much healthier.
    Your ideas are all terrific- thanks for sharing them !

    Anh- Thanks! I hope you find a cute reusable mug, that is a great start to creating less trash and also more fun to drink from :)

    Poornima- Thanks!

    Miri- How nice that Delhi has also banned plastic bags; it will take some time but people will change their habits.
    In India, reusing things and being frugal and less wasteful is a way of life; in the US, using disposables stuff is way more ingrained. Hence the reluctance to change, but it is happening slowly.

    MeetaK- Me too :) I am very partial to pistchios. Yes, I have bags inside bags inside bags :)
    So glad that Germany charges money for bags, that changes behavior the way few other things can. Money talks!

  42. Summer already? Ha ha, no that's desperation! Kulfi looks amazing. bring it on...

  43. Wow that looks delicious! I always crave ice-cream in winter, strangely enough!

  44. Kulfi is an all time favourite for us too. We tried the shop bought ones here a few time but found them tasting too synthetic and to top that they were called 'Indian Icecreams' which totally out us off since they are so different from icecreams.

    I havent tried making them yet but once I had some left over Basundi and none of us was in a mood to have more even after storing it for 2 days in the fridge so I stuck it in the freezer and it came out tasting very much like the Malai Kulfi!

  45. Your kulfi recipe is amazing as always :) Tarla Dalal has a quick kulfi recipe using Indian ingredients like milk powder and such - i think I had tried it once with good results...
    You're doing great with your efforts to save the environment - The sahakari bhandar where I used to shop in Bombay used to give us 2Rs back on the bill for every cloth bag brought and filled and charge 2 rs extra for every plastic bag they had to provide, which was a great initiative...
    Just visited the local market today (farmer's) and there was not a sight of plastic anyway - everyone had got their own plastic / jute / cloth bags which felt so great to see :) And Indian homes since time immemorial are so great for recycling anyway - using cloth, recycling shopping bags - same things that others used to laugh at, are being looked up at today :)

  46. Kulfi looks so yummy Nupur. We have been having snow here in TX too, about 12", worst part is we dont have snow clearing machines like in the east coast so whether you like it or not you have to do car skating :)

    I do the kitchen wastes(veggies) for my garden and some old clothes that we cant donate to use as a waste cloth. Usually those junk mails we get in envelopes, I tear the letters with our names but use the sturdy covers to write my shopping list or make them into small books to keep in the car, write monthly expenses etc etc.,

  47. Yummm, kulfi. I freeze mine with liquid nitrogen I steal from my lab. Last summer I made some in the lab and let our stores people(the liq N2 keepers) try some. Now they are hooked and we have had some inclandestine kulfi making parties. Since last summer I have been composting by digging in kitchen waste into the vegetable garden and it has worked except when Daisy saw me do it and later went and dug up the whole mess and had a feast.

  48. My part of going green includes using silverware, mugs in office instead of plastic spoons and styrofoam cups.
    I tell the restaurant to give me raithas in one box(which can be washed and reused later) instead of several tiny containers.
    I also don't buy precut veggies( I read that those lose all nutrients by the time we consume them). This way I prevent the plastic pacakaging and also get my veggies fresh every week.
    This I learnt from my mom - No fancy list making pads, always cut one side printed sheets into smaller ones, tag them together and use that for making lists.

    You will absolutely cringe at this - my 2 roomies eat egg everyday for nutrition but trash the yolk, which mean FOUR yolks get trashed every single day. Do you know any method where I can buy egg whites and make it just like the boiled part?


  49. Talking about trying not to waste. When we take a shower, we have a bucket to hold the 1st round of cold water before it starts getting hot. we use that to water our plants.After we cook noodles, we don throw the water, we again water plants

  50. HI...Nupur......

    I have sent you the comment on this post twice....but as i cant see it, i think the comment would not have been posted so m sending the same again.....
    The kulfi is looking oh-so-delicious.... and the weather here is just right to have kulfi(the temperatures are soaring)
    I like the idea of adding rose water to pistachio kulfi...must be tasty query is it ok to add a bit of milk powder to the milk?
    Your knitting looks great as usual..
    Thanks for sharing that very interesting article......i agree too....
    Thats the best part about your blog...One Hot Stove is not just a food blog.....Its so much more.....
    I feel that our attitude generally should not be whether one action from them can make a difference......but our attitude should be how can i make any difference.....
    You will be happy to know here in Pune, plastic bags are stictly banned... so no plastic bags for shopping grocies or anything.....its carry your own bag now :))
    At our office, we strictly use cups/mugs for tea and coffee and plates and bowls for food on daily basis as well as for conferences, meetings or functions... we dont use disposable stuff...
    Personally, i use handkerchief or towel instead of disposable tissue papers for wiping face or hands.....
    I feel even some things go a long way in making difference......
    Looking forward to your next interesting post :))

  51. Malar Gandhi- Thank you!

    Mallika- Yes, I am getting quite desperate here :)

    Radhika- Really? I guess ice cream is good any day of the year.

    bhagyashri- Well, calling it "Indian ice cream" is just a quick way of explaining kulfi to someone who may not have heard the word before, I would not hold that against anyone.
    Your basundi kulfi sounds wonderful.

    Nandita- I know, in India, the tradition of minimizing waste is time-honored and I'm so glad we are going that way again! It is wonderful to know that people are taking bags to the sabzi market on a routine basis.

    ruchikacooks- Oh man, clearing all that snow must be quite a workout! Car skating definitely does not sound like fun :)
    It is great that you are able to dispose off kitchen waste in your garden. Junk mail is such a pain- but using it for lists is a simple and good idea!

    bulbul- Oh have you seen the fancy TV chefs using liquid N2 and calling it "molecular gastronomy" :D Your clandestine kulfi parties sound like a lot of fun!
    I was cracking up at the image of your cute Daisy digging up the compost heap! Bet she had to stand in the corner for a long time after that episode ;)

    Merat- Using "real" silverware and mugs in the office- you are saving so much trash with just those changes. Yes, buying fresh vegetables saves on both nutrients and plastic.
    About the egg whites- they can buy pasteurized liquid egg whites in cartons (at least in the US; I don't know where you live). Leftover egg yolks can be fed to pets, and there are several recipes that call for egg yolks. But really, your room-mates should know that while egg whites are full of protein, most of the other nutrients are found in egg yolk, so they are throwing away a lot of nutrition by trashing the yolks. They might be much better off eating whole eggs 2-3 times a week than eating egg whites every single day. The notion of yolk being bad is very much outdated.

  52. shankari- That's wonderful! For people who have plants, this is a great idea.

    Rujuta- Sorry, but your earlier comments did not come through, I am glad this one did.
    I don't know about adding milk powder to kulfi but why don't you try and see?
    How nice that Pune has banned plastic bags- this one thing makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing all your great tips!

  53. Tap water here has a different taste, we started buying water after the baby was born.
    Hey, do u remember the colorful 'bhajichi pishvi' made of synthetic material? shaped (kind of) like a tear drop, with a small pouch outside where the bag can be rolled up and stored, all inbuilt! My Mom, grandma,aunts had them (probably still have 'em)
    BTW, I can see that u hv posted about daal , but the post cannot be seen in the blog...????

  54. Hi,

    For the elaichi powder, a few questions if I may, assuming I am going to make my own and not buy it:
    - Do we use the hari elaichis or kali elaichis?
    - Do I put the whole elaichi in the spice grinder or I am supposed to crack them open and just pour the insides into the grinder?
    - Do we roast the elaichis first?

    What do you think happens if we add saffrom AND rose water? Do you think that is overkill? You're the expert, and I will do whatever you say.

    Thank you.


    1. Nikhil, you use the hari elaichis. For grinding, you have the choice of using them whole or just the seeds. With using just the seeds, you will get a more potent spice flavor. You don't need to roast the elaichi first. You can warm them gently to bring out the flavor but be very careful because they burn easily.

      Using saffron and rose water would be overkill for me, but you can always try and see if you like it :) Good luck!

    2. Thank you very much for your helpful reply. I am planning on making it later this week and will let you know how it turns out.


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