Pomegranate Faloodeh: Persian iced dessert

Recently, on a hot humid days in Montreal, I was privileged to entertain a large group of my family with good food, scented shades on the porch, open heart, and most impressive of all, with homemade faloodeh  Shirazi (pomegranate faloodeh in this case).

Faloodeh or paloodeh فالوده، پالوده is a refreshing iced dessert, a summer savoury, made of frozen cornstarch, water, sugar and rosewater.  Like Salad Shirazi, Faloodeh Shiraz is a speciality of my old hometown Shiraz.  The dessert is of course popular nationwide and is almost always made from the scratch in ice-cream stores and sold in small washable or disposable cups. In Shiarz alone faloodeh is enjoyed with few drops of either flower syrup or lime juice sprinkled on it; everywhere else people eat it with or without lime juice.

In the absence of the skills and resources necessary to make an original faloodeh with cornstarch, the Iranian expats have developed this simple yet quite genuine method to duplicate this delicious dessert by replacing packaged Chinese rice noodles with cornstarch.  Now, a more delicious (and less known) version of white plain faloodeh is pomegranate faloodeh in which pomegranate juice is simply replaced with water. I have come up with the following recipe after trying many plain faloodeh recipes on the internet and modifying both the amount of ingredients suggested in these recipe as well as the method employed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice : use good quality brand such as Pom
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. rosewater (optional)
  • 80 gr rice noodles
  • You would also need a baking (digital) scale and medium size stainless steel bowl

Method:

In a medium size pot, pour the pomegranate juice and stir in the sugar. Mix well, then place on medium heat and continue to stir for 10 minutes.  Let cool, then add in rosewater.

Transfer the syrup from the pot to a baking bowl and place in the freezer for 4 hours. A deep freezer would be a better choice for our purpose than a fridge freezer.

Stir the mix after 1 hour, and later on, after 2 ½ hour so that the syrup won’t turn into a solid bulk.

While waiting, once you get closer to the end of the 4-hour-freezing period- get busy with preparing your noodles.

Using your hands or a scissors cut noodles into 1 inch pieces.  Keep the operation inside a big bowl to avoid wasting flying noodles.

In the same pot you used to make liquid mix, pour in 3-4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Add in the noodles and let it boil for 10-15 minutes (although the rice noodles we are using are most pre-cooked we do need to further cook them).

Drain in a colander placed in your kitchen sink and rinse with cold water for a good minute. Shake and let the excess water drain.

Four hours after you placed your syrup in the freezer, take it out and stir with a fork.  Even if the content is not solidly frozen it should still be frigid enough to do the trick.  Swiftly add the noodles in the bowl – little by little while you continue to gently stir the mix. This is the magical moment!  Noodle pieces become stiff and crispy seconds after they come into the contact with the frigid environment in the bowl.

Your faloodeh is almost done! Just take the bowl back to the freezer for another hour or two before taking it out again and serving in small dessert bowls.

To serve, you should be able to take break through the big bowl of faloodeh with a fork without too much difficulty: This is how cold and solid your serving faloodeh should be: not too runny, nor too frozen.  Finally, you could keep your faloodeh in a sealed bowl  in the freezer for up to a week.  In this case, thought, you should place it in room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Hope you will try and enjoy this delicious Iranian dessert before we are out of the hot summer days and of the fragrance of flowers on our porches !


Persian Stuffed Meatballs: Koofteh Tabrizi

You might remember at least two types of meatballs I have described here: One in an older post for cabbage mixed rice , where we make very small meatballs, and the other one in a dish I called Koofteh  and served with vegetables.

Today I want to share with you a very popular dish called Koofteh Tabrizi کوفته تبریزی – a rich yet tender meatball served in savoury thick tomato broth.  As the name suggests the dish is a speciality of the city of Tabriz also known for its sophisticated and extremely delicious cuisine. Like the other two meatballs, the basis of Koofteh Tabrizi is a mix of ground meat, grated onions, chickpea flour, turmeric and pepper-salt.  However, Koofteh Tabrizi is distinct in its taste as it is mixed with cooked rice and split peas as well as with aromatic fresh herbs; it is also different from other types of meatballs with regard to its fairly large size (here we go with Tennis ball size in order to better manage and make sure it will hold throughout the cooking process). Read the rest of this entry »


Chia-Berries drink

Give me a cool glass of Chia-berries mix any day of the year and I will gladly take 40 plus centigrade – like we have had in the past few days in Montreal! This is truly the ultimate summer drink – refreshing, nutritious, savory, pretty even and easy to make.

Ingredients (4-5 serving) Read the rest of this entry »


Spring Flowers

Spring was late in Montreal this year but it finally got here – in full glory!

I am blessed with two old lilac trees on two sides of my backyard: one right next to my kitchen’s window and the other arching over our newly built deck. The heavenly omnipresent fragrance of my lilac flowers make May the happiest and calmest month of the year for me.

Read the rest of this entry »


Norooz eggs: Painting with vegetables & fruits

Only five days left till the Persian new year, Norooz, celebrated by some 187 million people across the globe on the first day of spring, this year on March 20th. And right now,  in every Iranian’s household at least one person is quite busy (you know who that person is, right) – from shopping new cloths, to cleaning house to preparing haftsin table, tending to sabzeh and of course painting hard boiled eggs.  Watch my brief video clips here here for a colorful introduction of Norooz celebration and here for a “very fast” preparation of Norooz table! Don’t forget to check out the links below for Norooz-special blogs by my friends at #PersianFoodBloggers.

From ancient time, dyeing and decorating eggs has been a significant symbol in many cultures around the world – from the Zoroastrian Norooz dating back to over 3000 years ago, to the Jewish Passover to the Christian Easter, eggs are painted in solid or multicolored often to symbolize rebirth. In my youth time, my older sisters used to dye Norooz eggs by wrapping them in color bleeding pieces of brightly colored cloths, tightly sewing them in and hard boiling them in salted water.  The cooled eggs would then emerge from the wet cloths delicately colored and patterned. In my household too, we usually take the egg painting quite seriously, often going to some length to actually paint the eggs in detailed and complicated designs. Watch some of those here.  Read the rest of this entry »


Sour orange juice, a unique seasoning taste

Sour orange نارنج also referred to as bitter orange is a variety of citrus tree native of Southeast Asia but widely used in the Middle East, parts of Europe and US.  In my hometown Shiraz, almost every house with a backyard used to have a couple of sour orange trees which wore perfumed, white robe of blossoms in the spring and orange robe of fruit in early summer.  The blossoms of sour orange, bahaar-e naaranj, were used to make sherbet and jams, or sundried to be mixed with loose, black tea.  The fruit itself, too, has many culinary usages including for seasoning.

Here in Montreal, Iranian supermarkets carry sour orange right on time before the official spring season starts.  Right on time I said because sour orange has a special spot both on our Norooz table as well as with the herbed-rice and fish that we serve on the first day of the Persian New Year, Norooz. Read the rest of this entry »


Torshi in the making: From Shiraz to Montreal

At any full and happy Persian sofreh or table, several side dishes should be present to complement the main dish, especially at supper time and most certainly with specific types of meals such as kotlet and any kind of mixed rice dishes. The most crucial and common sides to go with these dishes are small bowls of torshi, assortment of seasonal fresh herbs, radishes and scallions, and Shirazi salad.

Now, Torshi, ترشی, or torsu as it is called in Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine, is basically diced fruits, vegetables and herbs marinated in vinegar and spices to be eaten with food in small portions as an appetizer and counterbalance to the greasy components of a meal. Read the rest of this entry »