Mango Kulfi

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My name is Asima and I’m an ice cream-aholic. Like a true addict, I hide all evidence before it gets a chance to be noticed. But it’s time to rectify my wrong… by making more ice cream. But not just any ice cream. It’s 6-ingredient paleo mango ice cream that’s dairy-free, refined sugar-free and sweetened with fruit!

Really though, it’s not ice cream at all. What I made here is mango kulfi which is a dairy-based frozen dessert popular in the Indian subcontinent. It’s creamy, icy, chewy and dense all in one, which doesn’t sound appetizing in the least but it is!

I remember talking to my mom about kulfi a while ago and she went all Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk on me. I doubt my Indian ancestors were concocting kulfi with diabetes-in-a-can. On the other hand, canned coconut milk and coconut oil – they were definitely working with some of that.

I can barely take credit for this mango kulfi recipe – it’s really forgiving and above all, no churning is required. What I did is go back to the good ol’ basics, void of thickeners and fillers that have made their way into kulfi recipes everywhere. Cornstarch, breadcrumbs, hydrogenated whipped products and condensed milk are things you won’t find here.

Instead, full-fat coconut milk is used as a base in place of condensed milk and ridiculously-over-ripe mango for flavour and sweetness. I used a mix of champagne mangoes and Pakistani mangoes that have a very distinct floral flavour that can easily be found at Pakistani grocers. It’s worth taking note that this recipe is lightly sweetened but you can add honey according to your preference.

Mango Kulfi

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (I prefer Native Forest, 365 and Aroy-D)
  • 3 cups super-ripe mango, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup peeled blanched almonds
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch saffron threads (optional)

Method:

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan with ground cardamom and saffron over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes while whisking every minute or so to prevent it from scalding the bottom of the pot. This step is to reduce the coconut milk down a bit and infuse the flavour of the saffron and cardamom.

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Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down a bit. It should look like this:

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Once it has cooled pour the coconut milk into a blender…

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….With the soaked and drained almonds…

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…Mango…

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…And coconut oil.

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Blend (you can also add honey to taste if you want it sweeter).

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Pour the kulfi mixture into popsicle molds and tap it against a hard surface a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Stick a popsicle stick in it and freeze. Alternatively, you can use a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. When you are ready to serve, remove the kulfi from the freezer and let it defrost for 5-10 minutes or until it has melted around the edges.

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Garnish with chopped pistachio and saffron threads if you’re feeling fancy. The kulfi will last up to a month in the freezer but that probably won’t happen.

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