By Salima Jivraj
I used to strongly dislike falooda. I would detest the taste, the colour, the weird bits of things floating around – the FISH EYES! It’s funny because as of a couple of years ago, it all of a sudden grew on me and now, I can’t get enough! I love everything about the drink – its cooling sensation, fresh taste and also those fish eyes aka takmalanga (basil seeds).
When I crave falooda and don’t have access to it, I’ll reach for bubble tea (more readily available where I live), which often leaves me just as satisfied. Both falooda and bubble tea contain multiple textures and flavours that makes the drink unique and enjoyable. It’s truly an experience because it’s quite complex for a beverage.
An interesting ingredient for falooda is takmalangla, also known as takmaria and in English, Basil seeds. These seeds are known for their cooling quality and are used for their thickening properties in many different drinks and desserts, the most common in South Asian culture being falooda.
The tiny black seeds, when soaked in water plump up and resemble little tapioca pearls, which is where the inspiration to combine these drinks also came from.
As Ramadan was approaching, I wanted to fuse my two liquid loves and create the ultimate drink – Falooda Bubble Tea.
Falooda bubble tea
Makes 4 servings
- 1.5 cups vanilla almond milk or regular milk
- 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk (optional)
- 1/2 cup of strong masala tea with cardamom (black, cold) use or cardamom green tea
- 2 tsp takmalanga seeds
- 1/3 cup dry vermicelli specifically for falooda (cut in small pieces)
- 1/4 cup or 6 tbsp roo hafza
- Splash of rose water
- 4 scoops kulfi or ice cream
- ½ – 1 cup each pistachio and almonds, finely chopped (more or less as you wish)
- Ice (lots)
- 1 cup bubble tea tapioca (available at many Asian grocers)
- 1 tbp honey or maple syrup
- Make strong masala tea, or cardamom green tea. Set aside.
- Soak the takmalanga seeds in a full cup of water
- In a sauce pan, bring 10 c of water to a strong boil and add the tapioca pearls boil for a minute, stirring constantly. Then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Or use package instructions. Strain and add honey/syrup to keep pearls from sticking together. Set aside
- In another sauce pan, boil 2 cups of water and add vermicelli. Cook until soft, strain and add a little of the cold almond or cows milk, a teaspoon of rooh afza (to give colour) and set aside
- In a blender, add the condensed milk, rooh afza, rose water, ice cream, tea, pistachio and/or almond and blend.
- Add milk or almond milk to achieve desired thickness. I tend to like a very thick falooda so I don’t add more than 1 cup usually.
- Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of each in each glass: vermicelli, takmalanga and tapioca pearls
- Pour mixture from blender into each glass
- Add a scoop of ice cream to top it off (optional) and garnish with pistachio and rooh afza syrup.
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