We made falooda - a delicious desert.
In between rushing children to gymnastics, boy scouts and piano lessons we learned about falooda while listening to National Public Radio (NPR). Falooda is a layered desert popular in India and neighboring countries. With many variations, the layers consist of ingredients such as vermicelli noodles, gelatin, tapioca, flan and sweet basil seeds. In addition, rose syrup, milk and vanilla ice cream are added to fill in the spaces.
Not knowing what sweet basil seeds were I did some research and found they go by two other names; Sabja seeds and tukmaria. Seeds of the ocimum basil plant, they are praised for health benefits such as relieving constipation and increasing skin health. I found them in the Asian store.
Falooda was easier to make than I anticipated, but I had to begin about 4 hours in advance as both the sweet basil seeds and gelatin require advanced preparation. Wanting to make falooda for five people, I put 5 tbsp in a large bowl with water to soak for about 4 hours. I was amazed by the growth of the seeds and learned that the 5 tbsp was enough for about 10 faloodas.
Next I prepared the gelatin by putting two packets into 1/2 cup of cold water and then adding 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Once the gelatin was completely dissolved, it was placed into the refrigerator for 4 hours to set.
Once we were ready to put the faloodas together, we boiled vermicelli noodles and then began the layering. One half of the gelatin was placed into the bottom of four tall glasses. Next 1 tbsp of honey was added to each glass. I still don't know what exactly rose syrup is, so we used honey instead.
Next, three large spoonfulls of soaked sabja seeds were added to each glass followed by a fork full of cooked vermacelli noodles.
After the noodles were added the glass was filled with milk and then a scoop of vanilla ice cream was placed on top.
One of the comments I vividly remember from the radio interview on faloodas was that they demand attention to eat. That was incredibly true. Those vermacelli noodles were long and difficult, but fun to consume from a glass.
Once the glasses were empty, we were all full and happy.
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