Falooda is a popular cold drink served in India for dessert or as a cold treat on a hot afternoon. It is believed to have originated with the Mughals and quickly migrated to all parts of Pakistan and India. Rose syrup (yes, made with real rose petals) provides the key exotic flavor and color while basil seeds, noodles, pistachios and sweet milk or ice cream bring out different textures, colors and flavors. I think of it as a party for the taste buds!
It is available on the streets in North India and in many Indian restaurants. Falooda is even available as an ice cream flavor in many Indian grocery stores. I became aware of it a several years ago when my husband brought home a pint of the ice cream. (I have to confess that homemade Falooda has the best flavor and texture.) Since my recent blog posts focused on the varieties of Indian noodles, I thought it would be a good idea to share my recipe for it. It is incredibly easy to make.
Falooda is a cornucopia of textures starting with the basil seeds, also called subja, subza and takmaria seeds. These tiny black seeds, when soaked in water, form a glutinous ball somewhat like the tapioca balls in boba tea from Taiwan. They don’t have a flavor but they bring texture and a lot of nutritional value. Made from arrowroot flour, the falooda noodles possess a very subtle flavor. They absorb the color of the rose syrup and turn pink. These noodles make Falooda fun. The special ingredient, that makes Falooda unique, is the rose syrup. It is made from rose water and sugar, just like making simple syrup. Rose water is a by-product when oil is removed from roses for making perfume. It has a wonderful scent. When these ingredients are combined with milk and ice cream, a wonderful, rich milkshake-like dessert is created. Yum!
Falooda for Two
2 tsp basil seeds
2 Tbs sugar
1 oz falooda noodles
1 Tbs rose syrup, plus more for drizzling
2 generous scoops vanilla ice cream
1 dozen pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
a few rose petals
1. Soak basil seeds in a cup of water for 30 minutes then drain off any remaining water.
2. Fill a large bowl with boiling water. Immerse the falooda noodles in the bowl for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain.
3. Mix the sugar and the milk together.
4. Into two large glasses, add the following ingredients in layers:
1/2 tablespoon of rose syrup
5. Garnish the glasses by drizzling a few drops of rose syrup over the top followed sprinkling the chopped pistachios and a few rose petals over the top. Serve immediately.
– If you don’t have basil seeds, chia seeds work nearly as well.
– The falooda noodles can be broken into smaller pieces before adding them to the glasses to make the treat more dignified to drink. I prefer using the noodles intact forthe added fun of slurping them.
– Rose syrup can be purchased at any Indian grocery store. If it isn’t available, you can buy rose water and make your own syrup easily.
– These proportions are the ones I prefer. Feel free to change them to suit your preferences.
– If you are serving this for a dinner party, the basil seeds and noodles can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Final assembly should be done just before serving.
I hope you enjoy this treat as much as I do. It makes an elegant and fun way to end a meal or cool off on a hot day. Enjoy!
Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.
All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.