There is a very sweet story about the arrival of Parsis who, because of being persecuted in their own land, came to seek refuge in India. When they arrived into Gujarat, the king sent them a glass of milk filled to the brim signifying that the land was full and could not support any more people. The Parsis then added a pinch of sugar to the milk sending an astute message to the king that they would not take up too much space and will in turn add sweetness to the kingdom.
It is a standing joke at home that my husband is partial to Parsi food. Now now, I am not going to tell you why... It is how it is.. So this is a post only for him.
Summers in India are scorchingly hot. It is a far from pleasant experience to be outside during the day. In fact on a typical summer day, India can feel like an oven on overdrive, but humans with their superior skills have learnt to adapt to it and to cope with it .
So how do you keep the heat at bay?Indians know a million ways to keep cool and the list is endless. Cool cotton clothes.. drinks that cool the system down like nimbu pani, coconut water, kokum sherbet, aam panna... foods that are spicy hot paradoxically cool the body by making one sweat.
The Parsi falooda which originates in Iran is found in various forms all over the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and India. It is cross between a drink and a dessert.
The recipe presented here is the Parsi version of falooda. Try it. It is perfect for the Indian summer.
4 tablespoons Subja Seeds (Takmaria, basil)
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Cornflour
250 ml Water
Lots of ice cubes
4 tablespoons Rose Syrup
2 cups Milk
4 tablespoons Condensed Milk
4 scoops Vanilla Icecream
Pic below: Dry Subja Seeds (sorry the picture is a little out of focus)
To make the Subja seeds:
Soak the subja seeds in 1 cup water for 2-4 hours till it acquires a gelatinous coating ( see picture below)
To make the falooda:
Mix the cornflour into the 250 ml water and place on medium heat.
Keep stirring. As you stir it will start thickening.
Cook till it becomes translucent and comes together like a ball.
Keep a bowl of cold water filled with lots of ice cubes ready . You will also need a sev press which will help form very fine noodle shaped falooda. Put the cornflour mixture into the sev press before it turns cold. Then press out the falooda into the ice cube/water bowl. Leave the falooda in the water in the refrigerator for upto 4 days. If you take out the falooda from the water , it will stick together and lose its shape.
To make the milk:
Mix the milk with the condensed milk and chill in the freezer for an hour or so.
Alternately, you can thicken the milk over a low flame for a few hours till it thickens and add sugar. This is actually the original method, but I use my shortcut method. The taste does not suffer because of this.
Now for the assembly:
Take 4 tall glasses.
Pour the rose syrup at the bottom.
Top with a couple of tablespoons of falooda.
Gently pour the milk mixture on top without disturbing the layers.
Add a tablespoon of soaked subja seeds.
Top up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream .
You can optionally garnish with a few sliced nuts.
Stick in a straw and a spoon and serve very cold.