Cooking with Mom: Kulfi – Indian Ice Milk Pops

This is the last of my cooking with mom recipes for a while.  My Mummy has gone back to her house :(.  I was whining to Ria about missing my mom and she said to me with a big smile on her face, “Mummy, you can still have fun with me”.  Wise, endearing, mildly annoying and selfish, all at the same time.  “How would you like it if your Mummy left?” I wanted to say but instead I just said in a super whiny voice, “But, but I want my Mummy!”  Nice little role reversal.  She kept grinning.  Sarcasm wasted.

We have made a ton of ice-cream this summer (strawberry/mango buttermilk, condensed milk ice-cream and several others), so I loaned my ice-cream maker to my cousin just to get it out of the house.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), kulfi can be made without one.  If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can just freeze this in little cups or ramekins.  I am also going to try to make these in my fancy Zoku Quick Pop Maker.  This recipe has great sentimental value and comes from my grandmother and will be made over over again.  It is one of those recipes that Dadi (grandma) will always make better.

For a more adult version (since it has tea in it), I am intrigued by and will be trying out real soon: Aarti Party’s Creamy Pistachio Pops.  Sigh…I don’t know why I bothered to get the ice-cream maker out of the house.

Kulfi – Indian Ice Milk Pops

Regarded as an Indian ice-cream but more like frozen milk.  Unlike ice-cream, kulfi is not churned (hence no ice-cream maker required).  Kulfi is dense and icy rather than aerated and light.

Makes 4+ popsicles


4 cups whole milk

½ cup sugar (try it with less)

¼ cup slivered almonds or chopped pistachios (optional)

10-12 cardamom pods shelled and ground into a powder


  1. Simmer the milk for about 40-50 minutes, stirring from time to time
  2. Add the sugar and simmer for another 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder and nuts, if using
  4. Cool and pour into popsicle mold or little cups
  5. Freeze overnight

Cooking with Mom: Chicken Biryani

My mother is visiting and I am taking full advantage of her being here by having her teach me some new dishes.  I have never made Biryani (layers of rice and a meat or vegetable curry – an Asian lasagna of sorts) before and have always thought of it as a complicated dish.  My mother learnt this recipe from her aunt in Singapore while we lived there and I am thrilled to add it to my repertoire especially since Ria scarfed it down like a champ.  Serve with some simple greens.  Scale recipe for a dinner party and impress your guests!

Chicken Biryani

This is a bit of a fusion dish – Indian and Chinese, which is typical of Singaporean food.  A little more time consuming than most of the dishes we post on this blog but sometimes a little bit of trouble goes a long way.  Works great for a Sunday one-pot family dinner.

Serves 4-6


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups rice

1 cinnamon stick and 2 bay leaves (optional)

For marinade:

1 tbsp soy sauce

½ tbsp dark soy sauce

½ tbsp red chilly powder (optional or use less)

salt & pepper to taste

For gravy/sauce:

1 lb onions or shallots, finely chopped

3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp ginger, minced

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp cumin powder


  1. Marinate chicken in soy sauces, chilly powder (if using) and salt and pepper for 2 hours or as long as a day.
  2. When ready to cook make rice in saucepan or rice-cooker.   You can flavor the rice with a bay leaf and a cinnamon stick if you like.  Set it aside when ready.
  3. Heat oil and add diced onions/shallots and caramelize for 10-15 minutes.  If the onion or shallot sticks add some water to “unstick” the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add ginger and cumin powder and fry for another 5 minutes.
  4. Continue to fry for 10 minutes after adding the tomatoes and then add the chicken.
  5. The chicken should take 15-20 minutes to cook through and will require some watching over and stirring so it doesn’t stick.
  6. Layer rice and chicken gravy in a serving dish or casserole like a lasagne – one layer rice, one layer chicken gravy ending with the chicken.