The sweet taste of a Delhi summer

 New types of Kulfi on display at the Kuremal Kulfi Shop at Bengali Market

New types of Kulfi on display at the Kuremal Kulfi Shop at Bengali Market | Photo Credit: Moorthy. R. V

Kulfis are one of the best things about summer. And there is nothing quite like fruit kulfis, flavored with pomegranate, jamun and faalsa, or fruits such as mangoes and oranges frozen with kulfis.

If you have been to Kucha Patiram in Old Delhi, you would have tasted Kuremal Mohan Lal’s delicious kulfis. The shop is 115 years old, and the glorious tradition of fruit-filled kulfis is being carried on by the younger generations.

Kuremal has opened a branch in Bengali Market, where you get kulfi flavoured with all kinds of berries. Another branch of the family — Kuremal (Mahavir Prasad) Kulfiwale — in Preet Vihar is also known for its fruit kulfis. Their mango stuffed kulfi is an all-time favourite, says one of the owners.

Kulfis are to Delhi what chenna poda is to Odisha or sandesh to Bengal. One of the most popular kulfi shops of all time was Roshan di kulfi in Karol Bagh. And earlier still, there were travelling kulfiwallahs. Delhi’s old-timers recall how the sweet — essentially made of thickened milk and sugar — was served on sal leaves. Kulfiwallahs walked down the streets of Delhi, carrying the dessert in an earthen matka, its hollow bottom lined with salted ice to keep the temperature down. There was even a time when it was served in empty cigarette tins with a stick stuck in at the top.

But kulfis, often served with falooda, have morphed over the years. Now almost every sweet shop or restaurant lists them on the menu. Kaleva in Gole Market has various kinds, including those frozen in fruits. For instance, they take a mango, deseed it, stuff it with kulfi and freeze it. When you cut the fruit, the pieces come out with creamy and ice-cold kulfi nestled within. Moet’s in Defence Colony is known for its classic kesar-pista kulfi. There was a time when it served its kulfis from a shack outside the restaurant. Moet’s also has a sugar-free kulfi. In most places these frozen treats generally cost anything between Rs 140 and Rs 170.

Delightful dessert at Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale at Chawri Bazaar

Delightful dessert at Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale at Chawri Bazaar | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

One hot day earlier this week, I tried three of Kuremal’s kulfis – flavoured with jamun, mango and faalsarespectively. I loved them for three main reasons. One, they were a delightfully cool sweet to have on a hot day. Two, the fruit added zing and tang to the dessert, ensuring that it was not sugary sweet. The mango one, for instance, had the heady but somewhat tart flavours of the fruit. And three, they looked spectacular – sunlight yellow, lilac (faalsa lends an incredible colour to sherbets and desserts) and the lavender  of jamun.

Kulfi menus are expanding with a vigour ad creativity in taste and colour. Also on the Bengali Market Kuremal’s list are pudina masala kulfi and fruit cream kulfi.

Bring out all the flavours -- and let’s chill.

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Printable version | Sep 9, 2022 4:59:28 pm |