In a modern spin on the traditional falooda, fresh strawberry syrup and sweet-tangy orange jelly are layered with the usual suspects like pearly basil seeds, thin vermicelli and ice cream to make a luscious and enticing dessert.
Presenting, the orange-strawberry falooda; the perfect sweet treat to welcome spring into our midst!
The weather has been lovely this week. Hope I don’t jinx it now! But seriously, I think spring is well on its way. The nights are still cool, but the afternoons are deliciously warm. And on warm afternoons, I dream of cold desserts.
Falooda is a popular Indian dessert that is part solid, part beverage. It is kind of like a parfait, made by layering a variety of items. The most common falooda flavor is one made with rose syrup or rose milk. I have written about how to make falooda in the traditional way on my blog if you wanna check it out. The falooda that I am familiar with, the kind that I grew up enjoying in the Malabar region in the southwest part of India, is made with fruit jelly (mostly strawberry or raspberry flavored), falooda sev (thin vermicelli), gelatinous sabja (basil seeds), nuts, rose milk and ice cream.
That being said, there is no hard and fast rule that you cannot come up with your own variations and flavor combinations. There are no dessert rules but just the ones that I make!
I am a sucker for citrus fruits. Especially sweet winter oranges. And now that they are getting scarce to come by, I am eating them by the poundful after every meal. No kidding. And when I am not eating them straight up, they go into my desserts.
February is an interesting month in Texas. We still have winter oranges and grapefruit, but we also start to see all sorts of fresh berries.
I could have made jelly from scratch, but I found this organic, non-GMO brand of jelly powder that I’ve been itching to try. It comes in a few interesting flavors like the mandarin orange flavor that I used. And it is quite delicious, so that was a win! You can use any orange flavored jelly.
Now that I had the jelly part of falooda easily sorted, I decided to make a fresh strawberry syrup to go with it. And that’s how I ended up with orange strawberry falooda. Trust me, it is a delicious combo. The sweetness of the strawberry syrup and ice cream contrasts nicely with the slight tang from the fresh orange segments and orange jelly. It is a flavor combo that worked incredibly well, so I simply had to share it with you guys!
Basil seeds (known as sabja or tukmaria) is an integral part of a good falooda. It’s very similar to chia seeds, but plumps up and turns gelatinous in a very short amount of time. Sabja is said to be beneficial to consume as the weather gets warmer since it helps to cool down the body. All I know is that it also provides a great texture contrast in this falooda dessert.
Here’s the really unique and different falooda recipe with orange and strawberry flavors.
- Orange flavored gelatin powder - 3-oz packet
- Hot water - ¾ cup
- Cold water - ½ cup
- Ice cubes - a few
- Strawberries - 8 oz, chopped
- Sugar - 2 tbsp
- Sabja or basil seeds - 4 tsp
- Vermicelli - ½ cup
- Sugar - 1 tbsp
- Milk - 3 cups, divided
- Vanilla ice cream - 4 small scoops
- Orange - 1, peeled and cut into slices or segments
- Mint leaves - for garnish (optional)
- Prepare orange jelly by first dissolving gelatin powder in boiling hot water. Add ice to cold water to make 1¼ cups and stir well till slightly thickened. Remove unmelted ice and cover bowl with cling wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or till firm. It is okay if it is a soft set since you will be layering the jelly with other ingredients anyway.
- Meanwhile, prepare strawberry syrup by cooking down the strawberries with sugar in a small saucepan. In a few minutes, the fruit will break down and form a thick syrup. Transfer to a jar and allow to cool.
- Soak the sabja seeds in a cup of water so that they become soft and plump, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Cook vermicelli in 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp of sugar till milk is absorbed and vermicelli is soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the falooda, add a tablespoon of sabja seeds in the bottom of a tall glass. Top with a few 1" slices of orange jelly, 1-2 tbsp of vermicelli and 1-2 tbsp of strawberry syrup. Gently pour in ½ cup of cold milk without disturbing the bottom layers. Add a small scoop of ice cream of top. Top with fresh orange segments and more strawberry syrup. Repeat for all servings. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.
2. Traditionally, falooda sev, a variety of super thin vermicelli is used. This sev simply needs to be soaked in hot water to soften it. But here, I have used regular vermicelli that has been broken into small pieces. This needs to be cooked in water till al-dente.
3. You can use strawberry ice cream or vanilla ice cream in this recipe. I used vanilla ice cream since that is what I had on hand.
Serve your falooda with a tall spoon and straw to slurp up all that delicious goodness!
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Have you tried falooda? Do you like traditional desserts or do you like to come up with flavor combos and variations of your own? Do share.
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