I hosted a Wine and Cheese-cake party many years ago.  I bought some calla lillies put them in a vase on the coffee table.  While everyone was chit chatting, my friend Sarah, dared our friend, Vik, to eat one of the calla lillies for $20.  He did it.  And he did not feel good afterwards.  But he survived and was able to go on and marry and then conceive a daughter, so it was probably harmless.


If you are curious to know what a flower tastes like, pass up the bet, and try falooda.  It’s as fun as it sounds.  Fuh-LOO-dah! There is absolutely nothing out there even close to it.  It’s rosy pink and has ice cream and ingredients foreign to dessert, like basil seeds and vermicelli.  These basil seeds are soaked in water and known to be good for indigestion.  (In fact many ingredients common to indian cuisine are known to be good for indigestion: roasted ground cumin, asafoetida, ginger, cloves, mint, etc…maybe we should just stop eating things that cause indigestion.  There’s an idea.)  And then there’s vermicelli.  Maybe that’s the “Fuh” part of Falooda?  As our friend Chenille says, “There’s pasta in my dessert and i LOVE it!!” She loved it so much that she chose it as the dessert for one of her wedding events. 

If there was ever a food to illustrate cell biology, this is it. You’ve got mitochondria and ribosomes and nucleoids…

Tukmaria (Basil Seeds) soaked in water.  Looks like something under a microscope! So cool!
Cooked vermicelli in a little bit of milk

Rose syrup – also perfect for a murder-mystery party
Chopped Pistachio for garnish

Sweetened milk combined with cooked vermicelli

Falooda
Cold and refreshing. There’s nothing like it.  It’s like what you imagine a flower would taste like. Got any law students in the house?  They’ll like this ingredient list – it’s written in outline form. 

Ingredients

3 cups Sweetened Milk

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

 1/2 cup Rose Syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon rose essence
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 drops red food coloring

 2 cups cooked vermicelli

  • 1/2 cup uncooked vermicelli (pre-cut strands) – I use MTR brand from the Indian grocery store
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon Basil seeds (‘Tukmaria’ at the Indian grocery store)
2 scoops ice-cream
2 teaspoons chopped pistachios

Directions:

1) Make Rose Syrup: Heat 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 cup of sugar and allow to dissolve.  Remove from heat and add red food coloring and rose essence. Allow to cool.

2) Make Sweetened milk: Heat 1-1/2 cups milk over medium heat.  Add 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and allow to dissolve.  Remove from heat and refrigerate for at least an hour, until cold.

3) Make vermicelli-milk mixture: Boil 2 cups water and add 1/2 cup uncooked vermicelli pre-cut strands.  Cook until tender, about 3-4 mins.  Drain.  Add to sweetened milk.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, until cold. 

4) Make basil seeds (tukmaria): Soak 1 Tablespoon of basil seeds (tukmaria) in plenty of water.  Allow to soak for one hour. Drain and set aside.

5) To serve: In clear glasses

  • add 2 tablespoons of rose syrup in each glass
  • gently add 1 cup vermicelli-milk mixture
  • using a small spoon, stir the bottom gently, allowing some of the rose syrup to color the milk slightly to a cotton candy pink color. 
  • gently add one scoop of ice cream to the milk.  The ice cream should float!
  • add 2 tablespoons of soaked basil seeds (tukmaria) around the ice cream dome (like a moat)
  • top with 1 teaspoon chopped pistachios