Desserts · Indian

Malai Matka Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream)

Kulfi is a popular frozen dessert which is often referred to as the “Indian Ice cream”. Although kulfi is called an ice cream, it doesn’t have the texture of ice cream. It is more dense, rich and creamy which makes it all the more desirable. Traditional flavours include malai (cream), pistachio, kesar (saffron), rose water and also mango.


Kulfi is often served in the form of long sticks but it also has another version- “The Matka Kulfi”. Matka translated means pot, usually clay. Clay pots keeps the kulfi mixture cold for a longer period of time and it is easily disposable, reusable and biodegradable hence widely used by local vendors. There are many ways to make a kulfi. Some use khoya/ khoa (A milk product) whereas some are made using condensed milk. I like to make it using the “rabdi” method which involves stirring the milk till it reduces by 1/3 or half it’s initial quantity. This method is easy but little time consuming and attention- seeking. But trust me, it’s worth every single second.  

Note– If you don’t get clay pots, you can also use the plastic ones. I have about 3 clay ones and for the rest I use the plastic ones which are reusable and easy to clean as well. If you don’t get the plastic ones as well, you can use muffin ramekin or the souffle ramekin as well. According to the feedback I got, it tastes even better than the store bought ones. After all, we are adding more love and also more nuts into these! 😉


Ingredients: (Makes 5 small matka’s/ pots)
  • Full cream/fat milk- ½ litre (Don’t use already boiled milk. It should be a fresh packet of milk)
  • Condensed milk- 150g (less than half of a 400g can)
  • Sugar- 3 teaspoons
  • Milk powder- 3 teaspoons
  • Cornflour- 1 tablespoon dissolved in 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Saffron- a pinch
  • Green cardamom powder- 1 and ½ teaspoons
  • Grated Nutmeg- ½ teaspoon
  • Chopped pistachio- 1/4 cup
  • Chopped blanched almonds- 1/4 cup
  • Chopped cashew nuts- 1/4 cup

If using clay pot, soak it in water. Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tablespoons of milk.

step 1

Pour the milk into a large, wide pot. Keep over a medium flame and allow the milk to slightly boil. Make sure you keep stirring the pot with a wooden spoon touching the bottom of the pot constantly so that the milk doesn’t catch. Once nice and hot, reduce the flame to the lowest possible and allow the milk to reduce by 1/3 of it’s initial quantity. Again, make sure you keep stirring continuously. This will take about 10 minutes.


After about 10 minutes, add the sugar and pour in the condensed milk. Allow it to cook for 4-5 minutes while constantly mixing. The milk mixture will start becoming thick.

step 2

Now sprinkle the milk powder evenly and stir nicely. If you have tiny lumps, it’s okay as it will dissolve but make sure you break the bigger lumps. Let this mixture simmer for 2 minutes.


Now add the dissolved cornflour mixture to the pot. Stir constantly and cook for 4-5 minutes


Turn off the gas and stir in a pinch of saffron. Saffron is like pure gold in the culinary world so use it carefully. Don’t add too much! A pinch is enough to impart colour and flavour.


Add the cardamom powder and ground nutmeg to the mixture and mix slowly.


Finally, add your chopped nuts and stir the mixture. Allow it to come to room temperature. Stir the mixture once in a while to prevent formation of a milk skin on the top.


The most important thing to be noted in this recipe is to constantly keep stirring. I think I’ve mentioned it ample number of times but it is the key to a great kulfi. While stirring, make sure that the wooden spoon keeps touching the bottom of the pan. This is very essential and prevents catching/ burning.

Remove the clay pots from the water and dry them nicely. If you’re using plastic pots you just have to give it a wipe and make sure it is dry. Spoon the mixture into the pots and allow it to sit for a minute or so. 


Gently tap the pots in order to release any air bubble. Cover the top of the pots with an aluminium foil of that size and wrap a rubber band around it in order to seal it. 


Keep in the freezer for 5-6 hours or overnight to set. If you are keeping overnight, take it out 2-3 minutes before eating. [The time it takes to set depends on the intensity of coldness of your freezer. If it is very cold, it sets sooner]


Serve this delicious summer treat and it is sure to satisfy your craving for cold ice cream on a hot summer day! 

matka kulfi


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