Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you’re in a restaurant and your waiter or waitress appears from the kitchen with your order? And also hate it when you think it’s yours but it’s really for the table next to you?
I guess it just affirms that we’re all big kids just waiting to be fed at heart.
When I think of Falooda I think of my dad and the big smile that emerges on his face whenever he rumbles the fact there’s something sweet on the menu. We’re two peas in a pod.
When I was little he used to take the whole family to a favourite restaurant in either Leicester or Bradford on a Sunday afternoon and we’d have the most memorable family meals. Mum would order something classy and simple, Dad would get the thali and my brother and I would squabble over whether they put coriander in the daal or not.
Regardless of what Ravi and I were arguing about, Dad would always diffuse the situation by asking me the golden question. That cheeky smile would spread across his face and he’d say one word, ‘Falooda?’
And that was all it took. I’d be content without coriander in the daal and no samosa starter because I knew I was getting to drink what is practically a dessert with my main meal. Happy days.
What the fudge is Falooda, I hear you ask?
A rose-flavoured milkshake with rice noodles, basil seeds, milk jelly diamonds and a couple of scoops of ice cream.
If you love ice cream sundaes, this will be your kryptonite.
I’ve been a bit playful with my version and tweaked what is a very classic Indian Falooda into what can only be described as a bloody delicious deviation. Meet the Stawberry Cheesecake Falooda – a hybrid between two separate ends of the world. A bit like me, I suppose.
Imagine this; all the gorgeousness of classic Falooda with the fruitiness of strawberries to compliment the delicate rose flavour, a hint of malt from the biscuits, the creaminess of light Italian mascarpone cheese and some strawberry cheesecake ice cream to top it all off.
This one’s all for you, Pops. Don’t tell Mum.
Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda
Ingredients for the milk jelly:
5g agar agar/China grass strands, snipped into small pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
200ml warm water
Few drops pink food colour
1. Soak the agar agar in warm water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, gently bring the milk to the boil. Squeeze the agar agar to remove any water and mix it into the boiling milk. Stir continuously until completely dissolved. Add the sugar and keep on stirring for a few minutes.
2. Lightly grease a steel plate and pour in the milk. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place into the fridge until set. When set, cut the jelly into diamond shapes. Refrigerate until needed.
Ingredients for the rest of the Falooda:
50ml rose syrup
4 large strawberries
1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
2 Rich Tea-style biscuits, crushed
1 tablespoon takmaria (basil seeds), soaked in cold water for 20 minutes (you can get these in South Asian grocery shops or online)
60g rice noodles, cooked according to packet instructions, then soaked in 1 tablespoon rose syrup
4 scoops strawberry cheesecake ice cream
2 strawberries to garnish
1. Place the milk, rose syrup, strawberries and mascarpone cheese in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a jug, cover, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
2. Grab yourself two ice cream sundae glasses or other tall glassware. Divide the takmaria and noodles between the glasses, then add a few pieces of milk jelly and the crushed biscuits. Pour over the strawberry and rose milkshake, leaving some room for the ice cream.
3. Top with two scoops of strawberry cheesecake ice cream and garnish with a sliced strawberry. You’ll need a spoon and a straw, too!
Serves as a dessert – or if you’re a bit like me, as a drink on the side of a spicy meal.