Kulfi! Cashew Almond Oats Ice cream! Vegan

Yay for Kulfi! This Indian icecream can be frozen as is and not necessarily whipped, it doesnt get rock solid hard. You could use an ice cream maker, which would make it fluffier. I fluffed it a little for the first 2 hours. I added a chocolatey layer the next day on the remaining icecream, which is totally optional.

Kulfi is a popular frozen milk-based dessert from the Indian Subcontinent. It is usually made with thick, condensed or evaporated milk, with some thickening agent like arrowroot or cornflour. Kulfi comes in various flavours, cream (malai), raspberry, rose, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron(kesar or zafran). Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream.

This is the vegan recreation! It has cashews and almonds creamed into thick puree along with oats and some vegan butter or high fat oil. I added saffron and cardamom for the flavor. Some chopped pista can be added as well.

  • Soak cashews and almonds overnight (I used 1/3 cup each). Nuke them in the microwave for a minute with a little water. You can also soak them for an hour and then nuke them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. or blanch/cook in hot water for 2 minutes.
  • Puree the cashews and almonds with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup warm-(more towards hot) water to make a creamy puree. I did not peel the almonds, you can peel them if your blender doesnt puree the mix smooth enough with the peel.
  • Add some quick cooking oats( 1/4 cup), 5-6 tablespoons raw sugar or jaggery(depending on the sweetness wanted) and a Tablespoon of softened vegan butter or high fat oil, 1/2 teaspoon saffron, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder and blend again. Add a little water if needed to get a thick puree consistency.
  • This puree now can be frozen as is, in popsicles or any container, or put in the icecream maker.
  • Cooking Step: I heated the puree in a teaspoon vegan butter over low heat, stirring almost continuously, till it just about bubbled. This will thicken the puree even more. You can add a teaspoon of arrowroot/cornstarch powder mixed in a little water, to thicken it further.( the cooking adds a bit of a sticky oat texture. If you dont like stickyness, skip this step) Use icecream maker, or freeze in covered container or as popsicles.
  • I added some cocoa powder to some of this mix the next day and made a thin chocolatey layer on top, just for fun. It is totally optional. :) The saffron cardamom by itself taste much better!
  • made some Popsicles twice without the cooking step. A bigger container as in the first picture, with the cooking step. Both came out creamy and thick!
You can add a frozen banana, a half cup Coconut cream or soy cream for added creaminess. You can also use rice soaked overnight as a substitute for the oats. Adjust sweetness by taste. I like my desserts on the mild sweet side.
Other variations: Add 1/4 cup blanched and pureed pistachios to it and cardamom powder but no saffron, for a pistachio Kulfi!
Have a fun Summer. We are still in 60s deg F here in Seattle!
I am also super happy to report that some smart kids gave their approval to this version! Yay for dairy free icecreams!

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  1. says

    OH MY GOODNESS! Kulfi was probably my favourite dessert (along with rasmalai) before I went vegan! I can’t wait to try this! Question: do you do anything to the saffron before you add it in? Roast/soak in milk?

  2. says

    This sounds wonderful! When I was in Washington DC yesterday I started talking to a woman who worked in a shop. We talked about veganism and about her family’s cooking and how to possibly veganize it. This is exactly the sort of thing she was talking about. I need to try this!


  3. says

    Thank you Anu!. hope everyone likes the kulfi in Nagpur
    Thank you Kulsum. That would be great if you could share this dairy free version!

    • says

      i peeled a few and left the rest as is. It depends on your preference, if you mind some of the chewyness because of the peel, you can peel them after soaking.

  4. Anonymous says

    Hi, this sounds amazing. Want to add mango. Will that make it too ‘slushy’? Any suggestions, if so? Xx

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