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Falooda - Float Shake with Rice Noodles & Basil Seeds
Ingredients: (4 servings)
• 1 cup (200 ml) rice starch (corn flour or starch is a substitute)
• 3 cups water
• a bowl of ice water
• 1 cup water
• 2 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup rose water (to taste) or few drops of rose essence
• red food or rose colouring
• 1 cup (lemon scented) basil seeds (sabja/takmaria) soaked in warm water for an hour or until they develop a translucent, slippery coat. Drain and chill. Careful: they are super sticky.
• 3 cups chilled skim milk
• vanilla ice-cream (1 scoop per serving)
Directions - making the rose syrup or sharbat:
Place the sugar and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Remove the pot. Add the rose-water (or a few drops of rose essence) and food colouring as desired to the mixture. Cool: place in a refrigerator.
Directions - making the falooda strands (noodles):
In a small stove-top pot, stir starch into one cup of cold water until dissolved. Stir in remaining water. Place pot over high heat, stirring constantly to keep the starch solution from lumping. When the solution gels, usually after 3-5 minutes, remove from heat. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Prepare the bowl with ice and ice water and squeeze the starch gel through a cheese cloth cheesecloth over the bowl of cold water. Alternatively, place something with holes such as a steamer insert (not a sieve), over the bowl and push the starch gel through it with a spoon or your hands. Narrow holes will produce delicate vermicelli-like strands. If the water warms add ice. Let the starch sit in the ice water for at least 5 minutes to firm up. Remove the strands using a finely slotted spoon or by pouring through a sieve. The faloodeh strands are now ready. Keep them cool in a refrigerator if needed.
Directions - making the falooda float:
Before serving, beat the chilled milk until frothy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sharbat (syrup) to a glass (see comments below). Very gently add enough rice noodles up to half the glass. Try to keep the layers separate. Tilt the glass and gently pour the frothed milk over top (if using a red sharbat try not to let the milk mix with the sharbat), add a tablespoon soaked basil seeds (they look like tiny translucent eggs with black centres floating on top of the float), add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve with a long straw and spoon in the same manner as a milk shake or float.
Comments from my sister Purveen: "Use skim/low fat milk (otherwise it can get quite heavy) and only about two tablespoons of rose syrup (otherwise it can get sickly sweet). I actually hand whisk the milk and ice-cream together (use equal parts of milk and ice-cream) - then you follow the same process as your recipe - my friends love it!"