18 October 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

Beetroot kulfi, rose sago pearls, beetroot halwa, kaju katli

Beetroot has been used to make kulfi, the classic Indian egg-free ice cream

Vineet Bhatia
13 Oct 2017 | 12:00 am
  • Source:Supplied

Serves 8

For the kulfi

2 large beetroot, peeled and 
diced into 2.5cm cubes
1.2 litres full-fat milk
600ml double cream
5 black cardamom pods
5 tbsp sugar
200ml whipping cream, whisked into soft peaks

For the rose sago pearls

8 tbsp dried sago
120ml single cream
3 tbsp rose syrup
½ tsp ground cardamom

For the halwa

4 tbsp semolina
4 tbsp ghee
400ml water
80g sugar

For the kaju katli

200g cashew nuts, broken
150g sugar
80ml water
1 tbsp full-fat milk
1 tbsp ghee
Edible silver leaf, to garnish


Put the beetroot in a pan and cover it with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer until soft. Strain and transfer to a tray to cool. Once cool, put the beetroot into a blender and blitz to a smooth paste.

Put the milk, double cream and cardamom pods in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has reduced to a third of its original volume. Stir in the sugar; discard the whole cardamoms to prevent them darkening the vibrancy of the beetroot in the next step. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Stir in all but 2 tbsp of the beetroot paste. Fold in the whipped cream and pour the mixture into cone-shaped kulfi moulds. Freeze until firm.


Put the sago pearls in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and leave to soak at room temperature for 1 hour. Strain and wash the sago under running water.

Transfer to a pan, add just enough water to cover and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until translucent, chewy but tender with no white in the centre.

Rinse under cold running water and drain well. Set aside in a bowl and add the cream, rose syrup and ground cardamom. Cool in the fridge.


Place a deep heavy-based pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the ghee and allow to melt. Mix in the semolina and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn a very light golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma. It will have the consistency of wet sand.

Meanwhile, put the water and sugar in a separate pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring often until a thin syrup forms.

When the semolina is ready, slowly pour in the syrup (take care, as it will splutter), stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp of reserved beetroot paste and cook for a further few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan.

Kaju katli

Grind the cashews to a fine powder, doing so at a constant speed, not pulsing. This helps to create the required fineness, which later yields dough of the right consistency.

Put the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until a thin syrup forms. Add the powdered cashew nuts and stir over a low heat for a further 3–4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and starts boiling.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring the mixture until it forms the consistency of a soft dough. It is ready when a pinch of the mixture rolled between your fingers forms a non-sticky ball. Whilst it is still warm, transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Add the ghee and knead until smooth. Only add the milk if you feel the dough is a bit on the dry side.

On a clean work surface roll out the dough to a thickness of 7mm. Cover with foil and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Using a 5cm cutter or sharp knife, cut out as many pieces as you can. A diamond shape is traditional, but we made simple rectangles.

To serve

Unmould the kulfi on to plates and allow to soften at room temperature for about 4-5 minutes. (If served straight from the freezer, they can be rock hard and difficult to eat.) Put a quenelle of beetroot halwa alongside each kulfi, and place a heaped tablespoon or two of the rose sago pearls in between. Finally, position a piece of kaju katli on each plate and garnish it with the silver leaf.

Vineet Bhatia

Vineet Bhatia