There is no shortage of western-style desserts in Iran, ranging from classic French pastries to cookies, cakes, pies, and ice creams. At the same time, there is an assortment of local and regional desserts that have long been part of Persian cuisine. Many of them have specific associations with special holidays, celebrations, or seasons.
Faloodeh is one of those truly classic Persian desserts. It is also quite possibly the most distinctive of them all, with a particularly unique combination of textures. By many accounts, Faloodeh is one of the oldest and most original forms of frozen dessert in Iran, dating back to the 16th century.
So what exactly is this dessert that has Persians swooning? Faloodeh is a granita-style frozen dessert that highlights semi-frozen rice noodles in the midst of a well-choreographed dance of sweet and sour flavors, all punctuated by the floral notes of rosewater.
I know what you are thinking; sounds intriguing, but noodles for dessert, and frozen too?! You are most likely accustomed to tossing noodles in delicious savory sauces. It would not be surprising if the idea of freezing noodles with a rose-flavored syrup were to be met with at least a little skepticism. But I do encourage you to read on, and to try Faloodeh.
Faloodeh, or more accurately Faloodeh Shirazi, originated in the city of Shiraz, in south-central Iran. The historic city of Shiraz was the capital of Iran from 1750 to 1800 and is known for its beautiful gardens, fruit trees, flowers, and wine. Home to many scholars and artists, it has made a significant contribution to Persian poetry and literature. In addition, it was the home and is the resting place of two renowned poets of Iran: Hafez and Saadi. Their tombs, Hafezieh and Saadieh, are two of Iran’s most famous tourist destinations.
Given its origin in a city with a never-ending love of poetry, art and cuisine, you would hardly expect this dessert to be anything less than poetic!
Nowadays, Faloodeh can be found at just about every local Persian market year round, but it is a particularly popular refreshing and cooling dessert during the hot summer days. It can be served along with either Persian saffron and pistachio ice cream or, more simply, with a wedge of fresh lime to squeeze over the frozen noodles. It is also customary to top the frozen noodles with sour cherries and a drizzle of sour cherry syrup to create a vibrant bright color contrast.
Next time you are in the mood for a refreshingly light and simple dessert on a hot summer day, I hope you consider making Faloodeh.
This recipe was published at The Spruce Eats
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons rosewater
- 5 cups of water
- 2 ounces thin rice noodles
- 1 wedge fresh lime
- 1 tablespoon Slivered pistachios optional
- 1 tablespoons Sour cherry syrup or sour cherry jam optional
- Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat and stir for a couple of minutes or until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and rosewater to the syrup and transfer it to a shallow freezer-safe glass or metal dish, and place in the freezer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the noodles by bringing the water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the rice noodles and continue to boil on medium-high heat, uncovered for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The time may vary depending on the type of rice or vermicelli noodles. The noodles should be soft at this stage but still hold their shape.
- Strain the noodles through a fine-mesh strainer, rinse with cold water and allow to drip dry. Using kitchen scissors or a knife, cut the noodles into 1 inch pieces and set them aside.
- Remove the partially cooled syrup from the freezer after the initial 30 minutes, add the noodles and mix well. Place the noodles and syrup back in the freezer for one hour, uncovered.
- Remove the noodles from the freezer, and using a fork, begin scraping the frozen parts from the sides of the dish and mixing them back to the center. Place the noodles back in the freezer for another hour before repeating the scraping and stirring.
- Repeat one last time. At this stage, the noodles should be crispy and the syrup should have turned into a slushy semi-frozen granita texture.
- To serve, scrape the noodles with a fork and place them into an individual serving bowl along with a wedge of fresh lime.
- Top the Faloodeh with your choice of topping.