What the heck is falooda? The spelling is correct although the autocorrect kept changing it to ‘flood’ 🙂 Falooda is a famous smoothie cum ice cream dessert that was popularized in India during the Moghul Empire. This dessert with slight variations is quite popular in Pakistan and other neighboring countries of India as well. ‘Falooda’ in Hindi means shredded although it is almost never used literally and always used metaphorically to signify disrepute or slashing of prestige as in ‘izzat ka falooda’ or ‘reputation was shredded to pieces’ 🙂 Not sure how this dessert got that name – perhaps because the vermicelli is shredded?
Falooda used to be my favorite dessert as a kid for many reasons. One, it was served in this tall glass with an ice cream scoop on top! Two, it was rose flavored and I have always loved everything ‘rose’. Third reason, it was a complete meal in itself – with the noodles, the basil seeds, the chilled milk and the ice cream. Now tell me what kid wouldn’t like that? I remember when we were growing up, my mom would make this dessert quite frequently. I started helping her as I grew older. And I very quickly learned that this was one of those desserts that was very easy to put together but one that always succeeded in impressing the guests!
Now how did I think of making a paleo version of this? Well it so happened that last weekend we met at our friend’s place for dinner. She told me that she was planning to make falooda for dessert and asked me if she should make mine in almond milk. I thanked her for her offer but told her I would make a version for myself. You see I thought that would be easier than having to tell her to use coconut milk instead of milk, maple syrup instead of sugar and sweet potato noodles instead of the traditional wheat vermicelli! Poor thing would not even know where to get sweet potato noodles from!
Incidentally this was not the first time that the thought of making a Paleo version of Falooda had come to my head. Since I started making sweet potato noodles this thought had crossed my mind more than once. So glad my friend’s choice of dessert triggered me to try making it.
So I first cooked the sweet potato noodles. Then soaked some basil seeds in coconut milk (you could also use chia seeds since basil and chia are quite similar). Then I wanted to add the rose color – In the traditional falooda that comes from the rose colored rose syrup! I added rose flavor as rose extract and then decided to do a strawberry and cherry smoothie to make that pink layer. The strawberry ‘nicecream’ would also serve as a substitute for the ice cream on top!
Was super delicious and super satisfying that I did not even miss the traditional falooda that others were enjoying at the party!
Sharing this special drink dessert at the paleo/AIP recipe Roundtable this week hosted by Phoenix Helix.
- ¾ cup cooked sweet potato noodles
- 2 tbsp basil seeds or chia seeds (omit for AIP)
- 1½ cups coconut milk, homemade or store bought at room temperature
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (per taste)
- ⅛ tsp or 2-3 dropsrose extract or rose water (for AIP)
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ½ cup frozen cherries
- 1 scoop collagen (optional, omit for vegan)
- ¼ cup coconut cream (top thick part from a coconut milk can)
- pinch sea salt
- Cook the sweet potato noodles per package instructions and drain the water. Cut the noodles using kitchen shears to about 2 inches length. Add the noodles to half of the coconut milk (3/4 cup). Add the maple syrup and the rose extract to this and stir. Keep aside.
- Divide the rest of the coconut milk in 2 serving glasses. Add 1 tbsp of the basil seeds (or chia seeds) to each of the glasses. stir to mix so that all the seeds are submerged in the coconut milk. Keep this aside at room temperature for the seeds to gel (about 30 mins)
- Just before serving the falooda, add all the ingredients for the smoothie into a blender / food processor and blend until you get a smooth, nice cream like consistency.
- To serve the falooda, to each serving glass, add half of the noodle and milk mixture on top of the basil/chia layer. And then finally add the smoothie ice-cream on top! Serve immediately!
Rose extracts are highly concentrated so just 2-3 drops are enough for a good flavor. You can also use rose flavored water or dried rose petals.
For an AIP version, omit the chia / basil seeds and you could use tapioca pearl pudding instead for the first layer.