Jaisalmer lassi with saffron ice–cream

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

In the far-flung reaches of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan sits Jaisalmer, a maze of sandstone alleys and homes in a sun-baked medieval fort that tolls with Jain temple bells at every dawn. A little dairy, a parlour with a few benches and some hand-cranked freezers, serves up saffroned lassis bobbing with kulfi and dotted with candied peel. Makes pudding the stuff of dreams.


  • 650 ml milk
  • a good pinch of saffron, infused in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 16 cardamom pods, seeds only, bashed
  • 230 g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp
  • 6 free-range egg yolks 1 kg Greek yoghurt
  • 300 ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • ½ tsp almond essence


Put 200 ml of the milk, the saffron water and seeds from 12 cardamom pods into a pan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for half an hour. Beat the 230 g sugar with the egg yolks, then pour the flavoured milk through a sieve into the egg mixture, discarding the seeds. Pour the mixture into a pan and gently heat, constantly stirring, until you have a thin custard; too much heat and the custard will curdle. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Fold 600 g of the yoghurt and the whipped cream into the custard and freeze until semi-frozen (about 8 hours), stirring twice while it’s freezing. Warm the remaining 450 ml of milk with the almond essence, 2 tbsp sugar and the remaining cardamom seeds. Leave to infuse, chill, then strain as before, discarding the seeds. Mix with the remaining yoghurt in a processor and whizz up. To serve, remove the ice-cream from the freezer and refrigerate for a good hour until it softens. Scoop balls of ice-cream into beakers and top up with the almond lassi.