World Milk Day 2024: What Makes The Falooda An Iconic Dessert?

For those of us who’ve had the joy of relishing a tall glass of falooda knows what a riot of textures and colour it can be – chewy-soft noodles, chubby basil seeds that resemble frog eyes, scoops of ice cream or kulfi, a generous sprinkle of tutti-fruitti or nuts, and a liberal glaze of rose or saffron syrup. As the spoon explores the depth of the glass, bringing up a different combination of things with each bite, the falooda is more than just dessert – it is an experience. Known for its unique blend of flavours and textures, combining sweetness, creaminess and floral notes from the rose syrup, the beloved treat enjoyed in many parts of South Asia.

Besides India, the drinkable dessert has basked in fame in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Despite its colloquial use in the city of Mumbai where the falooda is often used as reference to have messed something up (read: izzat ka falooda), the dessert has a fascinating set of characteristics which make it one of a kind. Besides its versatility in providing scope for customisation, the falooda is associated with the idea of being a ‘treat’ – given the indulgent forms of dairy that go into its making – ice cream, rabri, kulfi, etc. The visually appealing dessert – with a host of cooling ingredients, has offered respite in a largely tropical country for people to cool off after a hectic shopping spree or simply as a way of making oneself feel better.

Image Credits: Toast

Originally borrowed from a Persian dessert known as faloodeh – a preparation of vermicelli noodles mixed with sugar syrup and rose water, it is said that the falooda made its way to the Indian subcontinent courtesy of the Mughal invasion in the 17th century. As the empire flourished under the reign of Shah Jahan, the Persian delicacy underwent various adaptations and became what is now known as the falooda. Tracing our steps to Delhi, where the kulfi falooda reigns supreme at the popular chain – Roshan Di Kulfi – third-generation co-owner Ishaan Soni swears by the recipe his grandfather came up with when he opened his first ever shop in Karol Bagh back in 1956.

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The business, which has expanded ever since, now offers four different flavours of their kulfi falooda, along with other fan favourites like chhole-bhature and chaat. Ishaan, who affirms that in order to maintain the quality of their iconic sweet offering, keeping the sourcing of ingredients at the core is of utmost importance. The restaurant, which makes all their kulfis in-house, began by selling cold matka kulfi with a handful of dry fruit and falooda, ensures that the milk is sourced only from local dairies – a significant shift from the time when they reared buffaloes to extract milk. Roshan’s current famed special – the Badam Kesar Pista kulfi – has been a crowd favourite due to the familiarity of classic flavour combinations.