Yes, just after I promise to accept Dun food at its own value, here I go again.
But see, for me falooda is a very specific food. A tall glass of super-cold, sweet, frothy milk- preferably bright pink and flavoured with rose water- and always, always, a good heaping tablespoon of crunchy-slippery basil seeds. Originally Persian, it is now firmly a part of the wonderful mixed goodness that was the Bombay of my childhood. My Parsi cookbook lists it, tightly wrapped plastic packets of violently coloured 'falooda mix' are sold in Pune throughout Ramazan and my mum would make it for me during the summer holidays.
A falooda is defined by the seeds- these are called sabja, and are of the 'kama-kasturi' plant which is a stunningly fragrant member of the basil family. The seeds are supposed to be cooling, and so dispel heat rashes, crankiness, and other such summer-holiday mishaps. It is traditionally flavoured with rose water or syrup, which is also reputed to be soothing. Restaurants nowadays carry saffron or mango flavours, which is quite sacrilegious since these are warming flavours, and falooda is more of a cooling medicine than a high-calorie indulgent icecream. Anyway, that's my story and I'll stick to it.
All this is just to explain why I refuse to call the wonderful concoction sold by Kumar's Sweet Shop a falooda. It is a helping of silky smooth kulfi, topped with rice noodles in a sweet syrup, further crowned with condensed milk. It is definitely tasty, and I do eat it often, and I do think that it is difficult to get this amount of sheer indulgence for 40 Rs. But it is not a falooda.
Kumar's Sweet Shop is at the Clock Tower Chowk, and all their sweetmeats are worth fighting your way to the shop through the crowd of hungry shoppers. Take mum there, she's probably better at elbowing others out of the way than you are. Be prepared to drag her away though..
Thanks to uppercrustindia for the image.
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