Saturday, February 19, 2011

Falooda/Summer's here...

Dessert (noun), a bomb of calorific explosion that has either chocolate, coffee or caramel. Or all of those heavenly things. Preferably all.  Oh. Add peanut butter to the list.

If I'm in charge of dessert duty, I'd make Molten Lava Cakes. With a macerated-strawberry-cream on the side. Not Falooda. Not a glass layered with fruit, jelly, crushed almonds and pistachios, swimming in rose milk, topped with ice cream and some more Rooh Afza (rose syrup).

My parents, however, are the type who order Kesar Pista/Fig and Honey/Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Over Death by Chocolate or Malted Coffee Caramel ice cream. Needless to say, Falooda is one of their favourite Ramadan foods; right up their with kanji from the masjid, Haleem from Triplicane and samosas from Buhari. So they're somewhat experts at it, and according to them, here's the downlow on the places you should go to and avoid for good falooda.

Top Two:

1)National Durbar, close to Park station-> in addition to their paya, they make a mean falooda, with mango ice cream. Very inexpensive and has no exotic fruit in it. Ergo, very good.

2)Fruit Shop on Greams Road: Not all the Fruit Shops outlets make Falooda. The one on Greams Road makes a fulfilling falooda, with all the components, for Rs. 75. Gets an A from me. It's difficult to finish the whole thing though, so partner up.


1)SeaShell Cafeteria's falooda: It isn't bad. Just that wilted fruit in milk, I don't want to pay 100 bucks for. I saw the name Arabian Falooda, and I immediately ordered it. Guess I set myself for a fall. The neon green jelly (jell-o), the lack of nuts... um. No. Order something else.

2)36 degrees: Again, it isn't authentic enough for me. It's probably because I didn't order the right seasonal falooda. You can give this place a shot, and maybe you'll order something that'll wow you. They do have a long list of other faloodas and it is their speciality, their thing.

And if you'd like to make this at home, good on you. It's pretty easy, doesn't require any heavy machinery and takes care of all the fruit in the crisper! Somebody gave us Motha Falooda Mix from Sri Lanka, so it didn't take much work, but it's easy enough to whip up all the individual components at home. It is now available at most grocers', so invest in it and make your life easier. And for your own sake, avoid the cheaper brands, because it's a waste of your other expensive ingredients. Might as well make a mocktail out of your cough syrup of choice and Milk.

If you want to do it by yourself, the old-fashioned way, make sure you're in an old-fashioned Indian kitchen that has things like Rooh Afza and sago seeds.


Recipe Source: BV(the sister-in-law)


1 litre whole milk.
4 tbsps Rooh Hafza syrup.
1/4 cup vermicelli, roasted.
1/4 cup sago.
3 tbsps basil seeds (sabja seeds)
1/4 cup crushed almonds.
1/4 cup crushed, unsalted pistachios.
3 cups chopped fruit.
500 ml ice cream (either strawberry, vanilla, mango or butterscotch)
Strawberry Jell-O/Jelly->1 standard pack.


1)Soak the basil seeds in water, and keep aside. The water should flood the seeds, and be one inch above the seed level.

This is really easy to get. Zamza vera in tamil, tukmaria, sabja seeds in Hindi. It'll soak up any amount of water and look like tiny passion fruit bits.

Boil sago with enough water (again 1 inch above the sago level). Keep aside.

Roast the vermicelli in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. Pour in water. Boil until it's cooked enough to squish with a fork. Drain the excess water.

You know how boiled vermicelli and sago would look, so I'm skipping
the photos!

2)Mix the milk with spoonfuls of Rooh Hafza until it reaches this colour. Or taste it, and see if it's sweet enough for you.

I can tell you how much, but my judgement after hours of fasting will obviously be skewed. And one man's sweet is another man's bland.

3)Add into the milk, the sago seeds, vermicelli and the basil seeds (which should now be all fluffy.)

4)Chop the fruit into tiny dice. Use a mix of crunchy, acidic and soft fruit. I use apples, bananas, strawberries, pineapples and grapes. Avoid fruit like chikoo/sapota, which tend to give off water and turn bitter/grainy.

How I wish I had mangoes to throw into the mix. Two more months. Just two more months.

5)Layer the glass with enough fruit. Pour in the milk mix, until it covers all of the fruit, and then a couple of inches more.

6)Prepare the Jelly/Jell-O according to packet instructions. Chop it up, and add a layer of it.

7)Scoop out the ice cream and top all the glasses with it.

If you can get your hands on Natural ice cream, yay! If not, Kwality Walls is doing a buy-one-get-one-free thing currently.  Butterscotch also has little praline bits in it, so there'll be some crunch to the falooda. Do not buy commercial mango ice cream; again, it tastes more like a pharmaceutical product.

8)Top with nuts, and a drizzling of Rooh Afza.

And the proper way to eat it would be to get a bit of everything.

And you could probably make a moderately healthy version of this (and I'm sure it'll be passable). Or scroll back to the beginning of the post and refer to the meaning of Dessert.


  1. Nice recipe.
    I make it without sago and use vanilla ice cream.