The blessed month of Ramadan is coming to an end. It is a month of restraint, reflection and submission for one’s heart and soul. Being visited by the altering weather flu, coupled with a severe sprain, my wavering health had my blog going more quiet than usual. I started fasting at a young age. My Suhour, the meal that is had before the break of dawn, hasn’t changed in years. Cold milk, cereal and Farley’s rusk. Umma would buy two boxes, one for my brother and me, and stored it in different coloured tupperware to differentiate. I would leave a couple of spoonfuls of milk and soak the biscuit till it became mushy. To date, I drink my glass of milk. I must have been that rare child who didn’t wince, gag or require threatening to finish my daily quota. Yes, I did like the chocolate powders but I preferred having it plain and slightly warm.
If Umma is making Falooda for Iftar, I probably won’t eat anything else that evening. Umma’s version is thickened rose and vanilla flavoured milk chilled for hours and layered with saffron jelly, basil seeds, seasonal fresh fruit and slivered nuts. Arrowroot powder is used to thicken the milk base. It is a popular baby food option in Kerala due to its digestive properties. I specifically say that because when it comes to Falooda, there is no fixed recipe. There will be a milk base, the remaining layers are entirely up to you. I’ve seen parrot green and ruby red layered ones, some topped with rice vermicelli and ice cream sundae versions. My cousin and I will sit on the stairs drinking glass after glass and taking turns to refill them till we cannot move. Recently, her daughter, Haya, has also started to join us. The last time Umma made Falooda, Haya had much more servings than her little tummy could accommodate. My cousin told me how she was seen sitting on a chair, eyes rolling around and in the softest whisper saying that she had too much to eat. That’s the charm of this Falooda. If you’re in great company, you won’t realise how many glasses you’ve consumed.
Remember my Date Clafoutis recipe that was televised last Ramadan? Reem Falaknaz approached me again for the second season of the show. This time she requested to film Umma cooking. When she began shooting, she seemed a little confused looking at the ingredients. On being questioned, it was revealed that the Falooda she thought was going to be made was the Iranian version, Faloodeh. That recipe is similar to a snow cone or a granita where ice flavored with rose water is topped with pistachios and rice vermicelli. This recipe does take time and it tastes best when the milk base has been allowed to cool down completely before chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Umma serves her Falooda with all the components mixed into the milk base and tops it off with slivered nuts. I wanted to show you what all the components look like and have made a deconstructed version just for this post.
You can thin down your milk base for a pouring consistency but I like having mine thick and creamy to eat with a dessert spoon. You’ll get bits of china grass and chewy basil seeds, the sweetness biting into fresh fruit, the crunch of nuts in cold rose flavoured milk, all in a mouth full. In my list of favoured recipes Umma makes, this is in the top 3. I hope you enjoy this Falooda as much as I do.
I’m so excited to share this video.
- Full Cream Milk – 500 ml
- Arrowroot Powder – 2-3 Tbsp
- Condensed Milk – 1 small tin
- Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
- Rosewater – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Salt – A pinch
- Agar agar – 10 gm
- Saffron – 1/2 tsp
- Water – to soak
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Fresh seasonal fruits – chopped
- Pistachios, Almonds, Cashew Nuts – soaked for 4-5 hours and chopped
- Sabja seeds – 2 tsp washed and soaked in 1/2 cup water
- Pour milk into saucepan on medium heat.
- Add vanilla essence, rosewater, sugar and condensed milk and stir well.
- Stir regularly to ensure the milk doesn’t burn at the bottom of the saucepan.
- Allow the milk mixture to boil.
- Add Arrowroot powder into a small bowl and mix with enough water to make a watery mixture.
- Once the milk is boiled, add arrowroot into the milk. Keep stirring and allow it to thicken.
- Once it is ready, take off heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Soak agar agar in water for 10 minutes.
- Heat the mixture on a low flame.
- Add saffron and sugar and mix well.
- Stir the mixture till the agar agar melts.
- Pour it onto a flat plate and allow it to cool at room temperature.
- The agar agar will harden into a jelly form.
- Cut into tiny diamond pieces.
- Layer milk base with chopped fruits, nuts, agar agar and sabja seeds. Serve cold.
- If the milk was in the refrigerator, ensure it comes to room temperature before you start cooking the milk base. It will take much longer to get the milk to its boiling point otherwise.
Have a good food day.