Jelly falooda with kulfi used to be a childhood favourite. Photo: Alka Keswani
Falooso in Sindhi refers to falooda, a sweet dish that travelled to India from Persia with the Mughals. As a dessert, it is very popular among the Sindhis, and until recently was found on wedding menus.
There are several variations of falooda, and each is different from the other in terms of taste and texture. Some of them are:
1. Falooda as a drink consisting of cold milk, sabja (basil seeds), rose syrup, sweetened vermicelli among other accompaniments.
2. Falooda with ice-cream, nuts, fresh fruits, sabja, vermicelli et al.
3. Another variant is the one with kulfi, which is an Indian-styled, unchurned ice-cream along with vermicelli and rose syrup.
4. Rabrifalooda, where along with ice-cream or kulfi, rabri (thickened, sweetened milk) is added for the creamy, soft texture.
5. Jelly falooda, which is a regular falooda mixed with flavoured gelatin/agar-agar pudding along with ice-cream.
6. Popular in places like Ulhasnagar (near Mumbai), is the shaved ice or crushed ice with rose sherbet and sweetened vermicelli, which at times is served with a pinch of milk powder. Falooda in this town is a cheap cooling dessert loved by young and old, rich and poor!
My mother always made falooda with kulfi, raspberry jelly and vermicelli, and topped it with crushed ice and rose syrup. It used to be our all-time favourite dessert, usually prepared on special occasions or family gatherings.
The kulfi made by my mother was nothing but thickened milk, which was partly frozen. The rest was saved as rabri to drizzle on top of the falooda for those who wished to have Rebhri Falooda. The rose syrup was mandatory (not the Roohafza), while sabja was optional and seldom added to the mix.
Also, she used to freeze the kulfi in ice trays since it was more convenient to scoop out cubes using a blunt knife.
Recipe for Jelly Kulfi Faloodo
Falooda pack (easily available at general stores)
6 - 7 tsp sugar
1 ½ cup water
A few drops of rose essence
1 pack of Raspberry jelly crystals (Rex or Kings are favoured brands)
400 ml water or as suggested on the pack
1 litre milk
150 gm or more sugar
A few strands of saffron (optional)
4 green cardamoms
1/2 cup chopped nuts like unsalted pistachios, almonds, walnuts (optional)
A few spoons of rose syrup
1. Make the falooda by following the instructions given on the pack of the falooda and let it cool.
2. In case there are no instructions provided, just boil falooda sev in water for a minute, drain the water and rinse with cold water. Simultaneously boil sugar and water to make syrup. Turn off the gas and add the rose essence. Add the strained vermicelli and refrigerate till further use.
3. Similarly prepare jelly as per instructions on the pack and refrigerate for a few hours. Chopped nuts like walnuts and cashew nuts can be added if preferred.
4. For kulfi, pour the milk in a heavy bottom pan, add crushed cardamom and boil it. Reduce the flame and let the milk simmer, stirring it intermittently, till it reduces to less than half of its original volume. Add sugar and kesar soaked in 2 tsp of milk (optional). Reserve some to use as rabri if you wish, and add nuts to the remaining milk. Simmer milk for a few more minutes and then turn off the gas.
5. Cool the thickened mixture and pour into moulds of your choice.
6. Freeze the mixture for at least seven hours.
7. To serve, take a fancy glass bowl or a tall glass. First put some kulfi, a few spoons of jelly, and a few spoons of falooda sev. Now top it up with crushed ice, a dash of rabri and finish it with some rose syrup. Serve immediately.