Falooda or Faluda can be called the equivalent of the term 'Sundae' and is a popular everage in South Asia made primarily by mixing rose syrup with vermicelli and tapioca seeds along with either milk or water. Falooda is an adaptation of the Middle Eastern dessert 'Faloodeh' and was brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal Empire rule. Basil seeds, tutti frutti, sugar, and ice cream may be added. The rose syrup may be substituted with another flavored base to produce kesar (saffron), mango, chocolate, and fig Falooda.

Falooda is a summer drink throughout India, Pakistan, SriLanka, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and Middle Eastern countries and is readily available in hotels and on Beach stalls. A variant is falooda kulfi, where falooda and kulfi- a special kind of Ice cream - are served together with a syrup. Falooda is very similar to the Thai drink Nam Manglak, which is made from basil seeds mixed with sugar, water, and rose water. It is also easily available in Indian Restaurants world wide.

Growing up I remember it as a dessert treat, and I cannot recall a single person who does not like at least one version of it.

Serves 2
Whole Milk or Low Fat Milk - 2 cups
Basil Seeds – 1/2 - 1 tsp
Vanilla Ice Cream – 1/2 cup
Vermicelli – handful
Rose or Saffron Syrup – 5 tbsp (Saffron Syrup recipe below)
Sugar – 1 1/2 tbsp or to taste
Cardamom Powder - 1 pinch
Pistachios – 1 tsp (coarsely ground), to garnish
Strawberry Jello - Readymade, or Homemade
Vanilla Ice Cream or Indian Kulfi- 2 1/2 scoops, for serving

Soak the basil seeds in water for 30 mins - 2 hours. Boil 2 cups of water and add vermicelli - boil for 3 minutes. Heat the milk and bring to a slow boil. Add cardamom powder, sugar and rose syrup to the milk and mix well. Strain the vermicelli and add it to the milk. Cool to room temperature, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours. Strain the basil seeds and add to the chilled milk mixture. Now add 1/2 scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream or Malai Kulfi and dissolve it in the milk.
In a couple of tall glasses, add 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream or Kulfi and then pour the chilled milk mixture over it. Insert a long spoon and garnish with the coarsely ground pistachios and serve immediately.

Authors Note:
Rose Syrup is easily available in many Indian Stores(try the Ruh Afzah brand), but Saffron syrup is easily made at home, and is really tasty. Vermicelli and Basil Seeds are readily available in any Store. Kulfi can be made at home, and I will cover this in another Recipe, but it is also easily available in Indian Stores. Kulfi comes in a variety of flavors - Malai or Cream, Rose, Tutti Fruiti, Kesar(Safron) or Pistachio - just take your pick.

Saffron Syrup - Steep a pinch of saffron in some hot water, then simmer it in a pot with equal parts saffron water and sugar until it thickens into a simple syrup. Strain and discard the saffron, then chill the syrup. This will keep for a very long time in the fridge.


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