Ovaltine & Milk Chocolate Kulfi w/ Caramelized Banana

First, a big thank you to Emiline who very kindly designed the new header for this blog. Emiline, i just Fedexed your ribeye with chimichurri. It was medium rare when it left… it should be well…done by the time it gets to you. Thanks a million! Emiline works for food and usually gets paid in pecans but she would gladly accept a scholarship at a top notch cooking school in exchange for her design work. Any sponsors?

Talking about pecans, I read in a gossip column that Nicole Kidman choked while dining at Spice Market in New York and was rescued by a waiter who performed the Heimlich maneuver on her to dislodge the rebellious bite. It happened a while back and the article didn’t give too much details about the food she was eating (sadly, it wasn’t written with foodies in mind) but one can only hope it was on a little cluster of popcorn joy that garnish the Ovaltine & Milk Chocolate Kulfi. I like Spice Market but to be bluntly honest you can have food just as good in Chinatown for one-tenth of the price, except for this dessert… ahhh.. this ovaltine kulfi is the item on the menu that might be worth dying for … it’s chokingly good! (get it? get it? chokingly! hahaha. Sorry Nicole!)

You have to think outside the… fortune cookie to truly enjoy this. It’s dense and malty like a frozen snicker candy bar coated with caramelized popcorn and candied fennel seeds. A ‘brulee’ banana, malt chantilly and ‘three milk’ sauce are served alongside. Pure bliss. No wonder it’s one the best selling dishes in the restaurant, sweet or savory. Pichet Ong, the diminutive former pastry chef of Spice Market is the brain behind this dessert. The following recipe was adapted from the The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts cookbook and other sources. Promise me not to get too excited and choke on the little nuggets of love when you try this. Safety first my friends. Enjoy!

Ovaltine & Milk Chocolate Kulfi w/ Caramelized Banana


(8 Servings)

Kulfi base:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 cups goat’s milk (or a total of 4 cups cream)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Ovaltine powder
  • 14 ounces milk chocolate

Three milk chocolate sauce:

  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 3 ounces condensed milk
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate

Spiced caramel popcorn crust:

  • 14 ounces sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose or corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 ½ ounces popcorn kernels
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

Malt chantilly:

  • 3 tablespoons malt powder (Horlicks)
  • 5 ounces cream
  • Pinch of salt

For kulfi: Simmer cream, milk, vanilla bean and salt in sauce pot for about 25 minutes until cream is thickened, coating the back of a wooden spoon. Add ovaltine powder whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and boils again. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until melted. Strain mixture and pour mixture onto 8 molds. Freeze until set.

For the chocolate sauce: Bring evaporated and condensed milk, split vanilla bean, salt and cinnamon to a simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Strain and chill.

For the spiced caramel popcorn crust: In a clean pot, cook sugar, glucose, water and lemon juice over high heat until it reaches the soft-ball stage, or 234-240°F. Add popping corn, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook over low heat until the lapse between each corn popping is more than 3 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in butter add salt. Add mukwa, fried mung dal, and poppyseeds and stir to coat with caramel.Carefully pour mixture onto a cool surface and, working with gloves, separate the spiced caramel popcorn into smaller clusters. Set aside to cool.

For the malt chantilly: In a pot, bring cream to a scald. Whisk in malt and bring mixture to boil. Remove from heat and refrigerate in a bowl for at least 2 hours. Whisk chilled malted cream to medium peaks.

Assembly:Unmold kulfi and place on plates. Spoon malt chantilly over kulfi, about 2 tablespoons per serving. Garnish with spiced caramel popcorn clusters, chocolate sauce and a banana caramelized.

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  • daphne

    looks sinful yet so tempting.. Fedfex a slice for me too?

  • Tartelette

    So I leave the kids playing over yonder on the blog expecting you to hand me a beer or something and instead I find this lip smacking dessert…It’s getting hot in here indeed! Gorgeous!!
    Love the new header!

  • glamah16

    I have been to Spice Market but sadly never ordered dessert. This has my fav flavors. I love 0valtine. I can have both Spice Market and Chinatown. Just depends on my mood and who’s paying. Until then I have to save this one.

  • Cakespy

    Like WHAT!? This is just too much. OK, no, not too much–just enough. To put me over the moon! Chokingly good sounds about right. I know where I am going (for dessert only!) next time I am there.

  • waliz

    i just bought dozens of chocs from langkawi but nothing look as sinful as this kulfi….sigh!

  • AzAzura

    kulfi.. and the furthest Ive been with it was pistachio…I I wish i can be smart and do funky things like this…ovaltine , is yummy !! I can be your neighbour and I can be your food taster (if you need one whisper:gimme a ring 😉 nod nod) x

  • Ann

    Love the new banner! And that dessert!


    Hey I have a proposition for you. Email coming your way soon! :-)

  • Elle

    Want. Some. Now. God, that looks good. Really good. Saw the header over the weekend–love it!

  • A Z R A

    zen, that stuff looks soooooooooo beautiful to be eaten eh…. ;P

  • Emiline

    When will my rib eye get here? I’ve been waiting and waiting…
    I expect it to be cooked perfectly.

    This is a crazy dessert. There is a lot of stuff going on, but I’m sure it tastes good. I had to really read though the directions to understand what it was, because I’ve never heard of this before. I love the idea of incorporating popcorn into a dessert.

  • Julie

    Wow! I like the sounds of everything individually but I bet they are fabulous all joined together, looks delicious.

  • Catherine Wilkinson

    Emiline could maybe finance culinary school with her artistic header designs! She just re-did mine as well. So, what can I do to get you to send this lovely little crazyass dessert to me? Youtube my severe dancing skills? Talk to your boss about a raise?
    What?? How come Emiline gets a damn steak? I’m going off to pout.

  • Alejandra

    Man…that looks very, very good… You’ve got skills, guy!

    I’m with you on Spice Market too. I love going there for drinks (they’ve got this great passion fruit champagne cocktail thing that I love to get silly on), but it’s not my favorite of his restaurants for eating.

  • michelle @ TNS

    this is beyond the pale of deliciousness. what do i have to do for you to get you to send me some?

  • Chuck

    Man, what i wouldn’t do for a bite of that. Looks great!

  • Brilynn

    Wow, just wow.

  • Angélique

    The new banner is so cute.
    Popcorn on chocolate? Deadly. Fabulous.

  • Rasa Malaysia

    Love your new masthead/logo…lots of characters. :)

  • Heather

    Oh holy shit.

  • foodhuntress79

    The new header catches Zen Chef’s character :)

    Great dessert,but an unforgettable
    Ovaltine experience is sneaking at night to eat a spoonful of the delicious powder- straight from the can…

  • Anali

    Ovaltine still exists??!! I’m shocked. I thought that went away in the 70’s… Well, more power to you for finding it and working it! The dessert looks great! ; ) Oh and love the new header!

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Did you say bananas!
    Ahhhhh I want it!

  • Chase Bjørnsen Ravndal

    It looks sooo good. I want a bite of it and really savour the whole goodness of it!

  • Alejandra

    Not really related to this post, but I just had to share that someone searched for my blog using the phrase “pictures of out of control dinner parties” and when they didn’t find anything, their out click was (of course) “chefs gone wild.” I’m not sure what kind of debauchery they were looking for, but apparently I could not provide it… :(

  • Big Boys Oven

    this is awesome piece of dessert, we love ovaltine, a lovely daily drink! I love this creation of yours.

  • Cynthia

    Emiline is a cool gal and I love what she has done with your header.

  • Isa

    Great header and great pictures!… And great recipe! Let’s just say great blog. Haha

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Oh, you SO totally set this punchline up, Zen-Man:


  • Manggy

    Wow! Thanks for the recipe! You’re quite an imaginative patissier yourself!! :)

  • Soho (chocoholic)

    just 3 words : “Oh my god” !!!