Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Summer!

Ok, well almost, but it has been quite warm here during the day and increasingly humid.

The pink concoction on the right is falooda. Say it with me now, "Fa-LOO-da." Go ahead and laugh. It's funny. It's weird. Willy Wonka would agree. The flavor is weird and the texture is even weirder. But it's definitely refreshing.

When it's hot outside, my people have it down when it comes to cold refreshing drinks. These are drinks that predate smoothies and Pinkberry treats by hundreds of years. Lassis and other cool drinks have been part of Indian culture forever. It's hot in those parts, damn hot!

Falooda was first brought to India by the Persians who sought refuge there and is believed to be a version of a Persian dessert. This drink is very popular among Farsis of South India, but is also well known and enjoyed throughout India. Falooda consists of vermicelli noodles, yes noodles in your drink, which are floated in a solution of milk or ice cream, water, and flavored syrup. The little seedy looking things at the bottom of the glass are exactly that. They are called tukmaria seeds, which I believe are a type of basil. I think they are actually berries though because they become chewy when soaked in water for faloodas. The noodles are actually short, very skinny little noodles about 3/4" long and tiny like angel hair pasta.

This particular concoction was made from a kit which included packets of vermicelli noodles, tukmaria seeds, and the flavoring. In this case it was rosewater syrup, which is a common flavor component of many Indian desserts. I have seen other flavors of falooda, such as mango, pistachio, and tutti frutti, all of which are popular kulfi flavors.

This was not my first falooda, but it was the first time I made it at home. Z and M were suspicious from the begining. They agreed to try it when they saw me scoop the vanilla ice cream into the glass. It's ice cream. How bad can it be? Z made a grimace when he saw the tukmaria seeds at the bottom. M, following his lead, made a similar face and giggled. They both tried it and neither was thrilled with the flavor or the texture and would have preferred a traditional American milkshake. Although the texture was kind of strange, admittedly I was not fond of the rosewater flavoring and will use less than what is included in the packet. This would actually be really good with Hershey's Strawberry Syrup. I'll have to keep that in mind for next time.


Lunch Buckets said...

I love the idea of this drink but maybe it's one of those things that really shouldn't come from a packet? Did you find the texture different from other faloodas (yes it IS fun to say) you've tried?

Desi Mommy said...

I actually found the texture to be a bit more palatable than I expected, although the flavor was not quite as complex or rich as the ones I have had at restaurants and weddings (where the caterers make the real deal). However, knowing that this was going to be a one-off rather than a falooda fest, the packet seemed more practical.

For as much as I am usually anti-convenience packaging, I wasn't as suspicious about this because I knew that I would get the right kind of vermicelli and tukmaria seeds.

If you make the real thing, let me know how it works out. I can't say I recommend the rose flavor. Too weird on top of an even weirder texture, but it is authentic. Kind of like sipping (and then chewing) your anniversary flowers. The Strawberry Hershey's syrup, on the other hand, rocked.