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Zafran Malai Zafran Malai Pista Kulfi Pista Kulfi (Recipe from the kitchen of Zafran, three portions) Ingredients 2 litres full cream milk, 1 gram of Saffron, ½ cup of pistachios (peeled), 1½ tsp of green cardamom powder, 1½ cups of sugar, 200 ml fresh cream Method Boil the milk and bring it to simmer. Once the quantity is reduced to half add Saffron. Add the pistachio to the milk and reduce it to 1/3rd of its volume. Add green cardamom powder & sugar. Cool the reduced milk & blend it to a smooth consistency. Now add fresh cream. Pour the kulfi mixture in moulds and freeze. Serve the frozen kulfi with diced fresh strawberry if you want.

indian belly

(L-R) Lentil soup and Saffron flower

best quality of Saffron that will suit your dish. For what are you using it and how you are treating it are the deciding factors. Are you dissolving it in milk or warm water? Are you dry roasting the strands and powdering them or simply drying and leaving them as filaments? Each of these four methods will give you five different colours.” He also tells me that at Zafran they practice the dilution method and dry roasting on very low heat (after which the threads are crushed with hands to make a fine powder). “Word of caution”, adds Chef Ankur, “Whenever you introduce heat to any spice they release aromatic oils so we suggest you use it immediately. So never buy ground saffron for it loses it flavour much quicker than the threads and also these days fraudulent merchants mix it with turmeric or paprika. “ Which brings me to another important issue i.e. how to recognise authentic Saffron? The chefs tells me that authentic Saffron threads will always be even in size and very fine. Another thing to watch out for is that the yellow

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bits won’t be connected to the red threads. And of course then there is the distinctive heady and musky smell that you need to look out for. Chef Gaurav adds, “Also, after eating it should not leave any colour on your hand. Saffron will never give you a dense colour. When fine quality Saffron is added to water, the water will gradually become pale yellow in colour. After some more time the water should turn a deeper and more vivid hue, whereas adulterated Saffron will immediately turn the water a bright yellow.” I look around and outside the sun has also turned from light amber to bright yellow, which signals that it’s time for the chefs to begin their day in their kitchen. I thank them for a lovely morning and for educating me with facts on ‘red gold’ and for sharing what inspires them and drives them, which I promise to share with you another day. Before I leave I request them to share their prized Kulfi recipe and they agree. A sweet ending indeed.

September-October 2013  

Spring, summer, autumn and winter. We love the flowers that bloom in spring, the watermelon we eat in summer, the yellow leaves that adorn t...

September-October 2013  

Spring, summer, autumn and winter. We love the flowers that bloom in spring, the watermelon we eat in summer, the yellow leaves that adorn t...

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