Some of the best spots in town to meet your kulfi cravings!
By Mahmood Hossain
Kulfi is such an enticing frozen dairy dessert that even those who are lactose intolerant will risk a terrible night just to have a bite or two. Originating from and popularised in 16th Century Delhi, during the Mughal era (surprise, surprise), kulfi is more than just a South Asian favourite. It made its way to the Middle East and as far as Trinidad and Tobago. The word kulfi derives from the Persian word qulfi, which means “covered cup,” and like any other ice cream on a stick treat, it comes topped and infused with various flavours.
The original mixture of ingredients consisted of dense evaporated milk, pistachios, and saffron. This is then packed into cones and immersed into slurry ice, similar to modern-day popsicles. Over the years, many stalls and shops have provided common kulfi flavours, such as malai (cream), rose, mango, elaichi (cardamom), and of course, the aforementioned combination of saffron and nuts. Naturally, we at Masala had to scour the city for its best iterations of this delicious dessert.
MARIGOLD BY CHEF GARIMA ARORA
Marigold by Chef Garima never ceases to amaze us. It’s not just about the plating, or their signature flair. It’s about elevating authentic flavours, which Marigold (and the brains behind it) does flawlessly. Only available through their catering menu, Marigold delivers kuflis in mango, custard apple, and malai. We assumed they couldn’t top themselves with some of the more basic dessert choices in Indian cuisine. Fortunately, we were proved wrong. These kulfis have a perfect balance of flavours, and the texture is equally impressive. If you are looking for an ideal kulfi experience, look no further.
YUMMZ KULFI & ICE CREAM
YUMMZ Kulfi & Ice Cream, a streetside stall in the Phahurat district and perhaps the most renowned kulfi spot in the list, couldn’t make things more conveniently tasty, as you can book your order of either the traditional or large sizes in various flavours. Taking a more standard route, from its shapes and sizes in popsicle form, we suggest trying out their paan, malai, almond, rose, pistachio, and saffron flavours. Not only did it give us flashbacks to our childhood, but it also reinvigorated our love for the simplicity of sweet treats; the notion that it doesn’t take much effort to provide satisfaction with a smile.
What do you get when you combine the Beirut native Chef Mahdi, and Chef Sampooran from the foothills of the Himalayas? Fine Lebanese and Indian cuisine that offers a unique culinary experience. Not to mention, delivering on their promise of a value-for-money approach. A fine example of this would be their rich and creamy Strawberry kufli, with traditional ingredients mixed with strawberry and garnished with pistachio, ginger crumbles, dry rose petals, and fresh strawberry slices. It was difficult to have just one and you’ll want to have it all to yourself.
JHAROKHA BY INDUS
Branching off the ever-consistent Indus, Jharokha by Indus is an elevated experience of North Indian cuisine, but not too high to the point that it’ll hurt your wallet. However, every item on the menu is pure quality, and worth every bite, just like their heavenly Kufli falooda. It’s light, airy, the right amount of sweetness, and plated beautifully. Some may say that the dish has wandered miles away from the traditional kulfi, but we’d go as far as to say it’s a work of art, from the taste and texture, to its immaculate presentation. If you’re searching for a unique and contemporary take on kulfi, Jharokha by Indus delivers on this and more.
A familiar face to modern Indian fine dining, Benares gives you a uniquely-plated kulfi of mango, meetha paan, and pistachio, all presented in a festive manner. The originality here is much appreciated. But it’s not about the playful plating and out-of-the-box shapes of each kulfi. The mango, for example, was incredibly refreshing, ideal for taking a break from the infamous Thai heat. With a firmer bite, the pistachio was consistent throughout, whereas the meetha paan offers a bite of spice as you would find in betel leaves (also known as piper betle), while it leaves you with a sweet aftertaste, as you would expect from a traditional kulfi.