Falooda is an Indian dessert that is the ultimate concoction for indecisive sweet tooths. Akin to a milkshake, this version of dessert includes milk, ice cream, soaked basil seeds, jello and, pop rocks as an “Americanized touch.”
This recipe comes from Aarti Sequiera’s new book Aarti Parti: an American Kitchen with an Indian Soul. Hear more from Aarti on this weekend’s Good Food.
Indian “milkshake” with basil seeds and rose syrup
Yields 4 servings (in 12-ounce glasses)
2 cups pure pomegranate or cranberry juice (or any kind of juice you like really)
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) gelatin
2 tablespoons basil seeds (see note, use chia seeds as a substitute)
1/2 cup very thin vermicelli noodles (known as “sev” in Indian markets)
1 cup assorted chopped fruit, such as mangoes, berries, bananas
1/2 cup Pakistani-style rose syrup (recommended: Rooh-afza, see note)
Chilled unsweetened almond or regular milk
1 cup Vanilla ice cream
Small handful minced nuts of your choice (pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts are good)
1 envelope Tropical Punch pop rocks!
Make pomegranate jello/jelly: Bring 1 1/2 cups of pomegranate juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile pour remaining 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice into a flat-bottomed (if possible) dish. Sprinkle with gelatin and let it sit 2 minutes. Then pour hot juice over it and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours until set.
Basil Seeds: Stir basil seeds into 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium bowl. Let them sit for about 5 minutes, until they resemble tadpole eggs, each surrounded by a delicate gel coating. They’ll also turn a periwinkle blue-grey color. So pretty. Drain and set aside in a bowl.
Noodles: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Break noodles into small 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces if they’re not broken already, and drop into water. Cook about 3 minutes until tender, then drain and rinse to cool them down.
Using a knife, cut the jello into bite size pieces. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Pull ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter about 10 minutes so it’s nice and soft.
Time to assemble! Here’s how I like to do it. I pour 2 tablespoons of rose syrup into the bottom of each tall glass. Then, I add a couple of spoonfuls of noodles, following by some fruit, followed by the jello and a nice big spoonful of basil seeds. Then I top it a scoop of ice cream. Pour almond milk to the top. If there’s any rose syrup left on the spoon, I drizzle that over the top of the ice cream, and then right before I serve the falooda, at the table, I sprinkle them with pop rocks! Serve with a spoon and advise folks to dunk the spoon all the way to the bottom and pick up all the different layers on the way up. So much fun!
Active time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 3+ hours