What you need to know:
- Gulf News is going on an ice cream trail this Ramadan.
- Our nineteenth pick of the month is the ice cream falooda.
- Be prepared for our list of 29 ice creams for 29 days.
- End your fast and enjoy the Summer months with these sweet and cold treats.
Our 19th pick of the month is the cream falooda, a dessert popular in India and Pakistan.
#19 Ice cream falooda
What is it?
Served in a tall glass or a bowl, the falooda is a summer treat that is colourful and is a combination of many different ingredients. Disguised as a drink, the traditional falooda is made up of vermicelli noodles, ice cream and black basil seeds. Each ingredient is layered over the other and either rooh afza syrup or khas syrup is added to the dessert. Finally, crushed or powdered nuts are sprinkled over the drink-like sweet treat.
Falooda or faloodeh, has its origin in Iran. It originated in Shiraz, a village in Charam rural district, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province of Iran.
According to Meher Mirza a writer for Indian broadcast channel NDTV Food, food historian, K. T Achaya said: “‘Falooda began life as a decadent concoction in the royal courts of Mughal Emperor Jehangir.’”
Mirza further stated that stories also suggest [Iranian] king, Nader Shah brought the falooda with him when he came to India.
Faluda is usually had with kulfi, which is a popular combination in India and Pakistan. Kulfi is basically frozen rabri. Rabri falooda is a North Indian favourite.
Falooda can also be had with ice cream and can come in a variety of flavours. It can be topped with fruits, nuts. In Pakistan, they sometimes add colourful jellies to the dessert.
What residents have to say…
S. N. Bagga is 93 years old and loves his falooda. The Indian citizen told Gulf News: “I had falooda for the first time when I was 23-years-old. We used to go to the Chandni Chowk market place in Delhi and have it there.”
I had falooda for the first time when I was 23-years-old.
When asked about how much falooda has changed over the years, Bagga said he did not mind the different variations and combinations of today.
“This is something that every place [in India] has its own. People mix a lot of things these days and there are different types of falooda. There [in Delhi] they have rabri falooda which I enjoy. People put the usual pistachios and almonds.”
Bagga used to live in Pakistan but moved to India in 1947, after the partition. He fondly remembers the “corner shop” on Maclor Road in Lahore, Pakistan, which sold falooda.
“In my college days, [my friends and I] used to go to that shop on Sundays. It was very well-known. I like all kinds of falooda, every variation is nice.”
His daughter, 58-year-old Rachna Khera is also a falooda fan, but believes that the originality of the falooda has changed.
The Dubai-resident said: “Mumbai serves falooda differently, and so does Delhi. The quality of the milk and the way they make it is different. The proportions are important."
While falooda is associated with summer, Khera believes that it is a dessert that can be had all year round.
Pakistani national and Dubai resident Yousuf Naeem said: “I remember a shop called Refreshment Corner which was close to my college back in the day. They had the best variety of falooda. The dessert was fresh and they prepared it using natural ingredients.”
Eighteen-year-old Lavina Kevin was apprehensive before trying falooda when she was 12-years-old, because the dessert “looked really weird” to her because of the different ingredients added to the dish.
After trying it, she changed her tune. “I really liked it. There are so many different ingredients that come together and the overall taste is good. I tried rose falooda for the first time and it is my favourite till date.”
Where can you get it?
A lot of restaurants in the UAE serve falooda in a variety of flavours. If you are looking for falooda, Billo cafe and Haji Ali Juice Centre have many options.
Fahad Jung, owner of Billo, said: “The kulfi falooda is considered Indian falooda. It has khoa (a dairy product) in it. If you talk about the difference between the faloodas from both countries, the kulfi in India has more saffron. In Pakistan, we prefer to have less of that flavour in the kulfi.”
“The jellies that are added on top of the falooda are usually to make the dish look pretty. It adds colour.”
At Billo, they have a selection of ice cream falooda and ‘Kulfa’ falooda.
Another place to find falooda in Dubai is at Haji Ali Juice Centre. The falooda is served in a glass or bowl and is topped up with fruits and nuts. The popular flavours are rose, mango, kulfi and chocolate.
Price: Dh28 (Billo, Oud Metha ) and Dh 17+ (Haji Ali Juice Centre)
Availability: The dessert is available in all outlets of billo and Haji Ali in the UAE. Additionally, most Indian, Pakistani and Iranian restaurants have falooda as a dessert option.