Falooda/Faluda is a cold, sweet, refreshing and nutritious drink that is traditionally made with a mixture of all or a few of the following ingredients- vermicelli (made from arrowroot), basil seeds (takmaria), jelly pieces (china grass jelly) and tapioca pearls-along with milk and ice cream
This popular Persian dessert was brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughal Empire was flourishing in India. Today there are many versions of Falooda—different regions have different varieties. In Pakistan and Northern India Faluda is prepared with rose syrup, chilled milk, some ice cream, finely chopped and boiled vermicelli, soaked takmaria (basil seeds) and a dash of cardamom powder and generally served after dinner during the hot summer months.
I remember while growing up my grandmother always insisted we have this milk drink with the takmaria seeds that literally looked like tadpoles floating in the milkshake—we were always hesitant to have it and she would say you have to have it is good for you, however she never ever mentioned what was the good part of it and we ignorant ones never asked—just did as we were told. To this day I still have it during the summer months but, like I have done with all of my grans recipes—I tweaked it to make it a healthier version.
When I decided to write a post about Faluda I Googled “Faluda and Takmaria” and I was blown away by the wealth of health benefits that Takmaria has— since reading about the health benefits I have started having the seeds on its own and not necessarily in a milk shake. Now I understand my grans insistence on us drinking the tadpole infested milk shakes. Tadpole like seeds included it is a delicious and nutritious drink, if prepared using fat free ingredients.
This is just a summary of Basil Seeds or Takmaria’s Health Benefits:
- Treats constipation, indigestion, bloating and heartburn, flatulence, irregular bowel movements, stomach cramps-it can be taken at anytime however for best results have it at night (1/4 glass of takmaria seeds soaked in a glass of water for a few minutes) just before going to bed. While sleeping it works as a cleanser, removing toxins from the bowels and the next morning everything is flushed out and all bloated feelings disappear
- There are claims that the takmaria seeds may help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes—however medical research on this is still pending.
- These wonder seeds called Takmaria have been known to assist with weight loss; however there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove this claim. But the gelatinous texture of the swollen takmaria seeds makes a filling drink, which could help curb your appetite if you consume it before meals.
- They provide relief from colds, fever and influenza-since it has antispasmodic effects in can help treat whooping coughs.
- Consumption of the takmaria seeds has an uplifting effect on ones mood and thus is beneficial for relieving mental fatigue, nervous tension and depression
- Oil of the takmaria seeds is used to treat infections and wounds
Faluda (Serves 4)
10ml china grass powder to be cooked in 250ml water (optional)
30ml takmaria (basil seeds) soaked in 250ml water
1l fat free milk (chilled)
5ml cardamom powder
4 sachets of sweetener (or sugar to taste)
2-3 drops of food colour
5ml rose syrup
125ml boiled and chopped vermicelli (optional)
- Pour the water into a small saucepan and mix in the chine grass powder, and heat on the stove till it thickens—quickly pour into a bowl and allow to set in the fridge (45minutes)
- Once set, remove and grate
- Place the takmaria in a bowl with about 250ml water; within minutes it starts to swell up and once swollen they look like tadpoles. They have no taste at all
- Pour the milk into a large bowl and add the cardamom, sweetener, food colour, rose syrup and using a whisk-whisk the mixture till it starts frothing
- Now add the takmaria, vermicelli and the grated china grass and stir and chill
- Stir before pouring into glasses and a dollop of ice cream before serving
- You can colour or add some flavour the china grass
- To make it richer you can add in a can of low fat Ideal Milk
- To have it as a meal replacement add a few scoops of whey protein powder and a little extra vermicelli
- Should you want to have the takmaria for detox purposes, just take about 15ml of seeds and pour about 100ml water over it, allow it to swell, add a few pieces of fresh fruit (added flavour) and drink it at night before going to bed.