Do you know how you can live right next to something and never really see it? There’s that building or that person or that restaurant that you walk by regularly and you know it’s there but you’ve never really looked at, never registered what it is that you’re seeing, never stored the image away in your head to recall when you need. You’ve never really seen it.
The area I live in Toronto is not particularly known for its food choices. It’s known as a low-income area, a common place for new immigrants in Canada to land. The ‘model inner city’ school that my daughter attends is bursting at the seams with kids from Brazil, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Syria and many other places. My townhouse is dwarfed on all sides by towering, low-income high rises and subsidized community housing, making it a very densely populated area. Perhaps the most common type of food establishments are those that are primarily drinking establishments, dark ‘holes-in-the-wall’ where tired, worn old men quietly nurse cold bottles of Bud Light from 11am onwards. They’ll serve steak and eggs, hamburgers, and who cares as long as it’s cheap.
But there are other food choices as well, mostly of the variety that you don’t know unless you’ve been inside or know someone who told you about it; these places don’t make the pages of any reviewer’s notes. I’ve been into a few of these, trying ones a neighbor might have recommended, eating Jamaican jerk chicken, fish and chips, Afghan kebabs and more. They’ve all been terrific. But there’s also quite a few, tucked into long strips of stores – all with similar looking signs – that I’ve never been into despite their proximity. I walk by them every day without ever really noticing them.
But the other day, I had kulfi on my mind (I had recently posted a recipe for Roasted Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cardamom Kulfi) and as I was walking down to the subway station, there it was. A small Pakistani grocery-cum-convenience store, tucked between the law office and the funeral home, the window filled with signs for long-distance calling cards and passport photos, had a sign in the window advertising that they were selling kulfi. It was faded and definitely had been there for a long time. I had just never noticed it, until I was thinking about kulfi.
I looked at it for a while, trying to decipher what flavors the colorful confectionaries might be, and decided I was going to get an orange one. My guess was mango. So I went in.
But there was no kulfi, the sign long having become irrelevant I suspect. The elderly Pakistani man at the till assured me that there was none in the ramshackle freezer along the wall, and I even rummaged among the haphazard assortment of frozen meals, ice cream treats and frozen grocery items to make sure. Nope, there was no kulfi.
The problem was that I was now wanting some kulfi. Particularly, orange kulfi. So I, obviously, had to make my own! Below is the recipe for my tamarind mango kulfi, dusted with Mexican Tajin seasoning. It’s a bit of a cultural mish-mash of a flavor but it completely works; the sourness of the tamarind balanced by the sweetness of the mango, accentuated by the salty and slightly spicy kick of the Tajin. Mango and tamarind are often paired in Indian cuisine, while mango and Tajin are often twinned in Mexican cuisine – there’e a logic to it all! It’s creamy, icy, and packs a major flavor wallop.
Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Mango Tamarind Kulfi with Tajin
Sweet, tangy, salty & spicy collide in this creamy, icy, easy-to-make- treat!
- 2 mangos, peeled and diced
- 200g tamarind paste
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 cup half and half cream
- Tajin, to sprinkle on before serving
Take the tamarind paste, break into small pieces and soak for 5 minutes in 2tbsp of hot water to soften.
Add mango and tamarind paste to blender (or use immersion blender) and pulse until smooth. Add cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk to blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into popsicle molds, Dixie cups, shot glasses, or some other creative 'covered cup'. Put molds into the freezer until completely frozen.
When ready to serve, pull out of freezer and let sit for 2 minutes to soften a little bit (this will help the Tajin stick!) before sprinkling Tajin on top (go easy, that stuff is salty!). They're ready to enjoy!
This is going to vary alot depending on how large your mould is, your freezer, etc but mine froze from warm in about three hours.