Monday, June 20, 2016

Faluda - Rose Syrup Flavoured Milky Beverage Topped with Jello

Faluda is layered dessert in a glass that originated in Iran. It's a multi-textured summer drink which the Parsis, who migrated to India from Iran, introduced to the Indian people who in turn took it with them to Burma. It is an integral part of the menus at ice cream parlours and restaurants which serve variations of this sweet beverage. The closest comparison I can think of is milk shake pumped up with nuts, seeds and very thin spaghetti.
The basic faluda, a milk based dessert, has rose syrup, toasted faluda sev or vermicelli made from arrowroot or corn flour, milk, basil or chia seeds and jello. Indian faluda has evolved with the introduction of saffron, pistachios, mango, and rabri or condensed milk. Burmese faluda is made with coconut milk, basil seeds, chopped nuts, mung bean vermicelli and is flavoured with rose syrup.
Faluda is easy to assemble at home with a few basic ingredients. Vermicelli or semiya is available already toasted. Basil seeds or chia seeds which are more readily available in the West, need to be soaked for an hour or two so they swell to double their size. Any red jello can be used, but needs to be prepared and chilled well ahead of time. Good quality rose syrup is available in the Indian markets and crushed almonds and pistachios add some crunch to this dessert-like beverage. 
This chilled beverage is ideal for a hot and sultry day. Top it with a dollop of ice cream for an even creamier and richer dessert!
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)
1-1/2 cups milk or coconut milk, sweetened with 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. rose syrup
3 tsp. basil or chia seeds, soaked until double in size
1 Tbsp. crushed almonds
1 Tbsp. currants
4 oz. vermicelli, toasted
4 oz. red jello, cubed
1 cup ice cubes, crushed

  1. Soak basil or chia seeds in water to cover and set aside for 2 hours until soft and doubled in size.
  2. Bring milk to a boil with sugar, rose syrup, drained chia seeds, nuts, currants, vermicelli, simmer for 7-8 minutes and chill for 3-4 hours.
  3. Prepare jello according to directions on package, refrigerate 2 hours to set and cut into cubes.
  4. To make a serving, pour crushed ice halfway up a glass along with half the milk and top with jello cubes.
  5. Repeat step 4 to make a second serving.

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