The other day I got to pick a bag of oranges from a friend’s backyard. Fresh sweet oranges are always a treat, especially when handpicked and had fresh. I am especially fond of the zest, right from the tree these are even more fragrant than those from the market. So there I was with a bag of oranges when the heat wave decided to visit us !! What better way to deal with the scorching heat of the day than with some Persian Ice bursting with orange flavors? So here is Orange Faloodeh !!
Frozen treats are welcome any time of the year , especially so in summer. Rich ice creams to plain ice cubes are all cherished now as the summer sun is making its presence felt. While I love a cup of frozen custard or creamy ice creams my favorite is a simpler version – Faloodeh . This is the Persian version of semi frozen ice. It is one of the simplest frozen treats to make and requires no ice cream maker or any special equipment – well except for a freezer.
Faloodeh is in fact one of the earliest known frozen treats. Do not confuse it with the Falooda – the chilled drink of the Indian subcontinent, though both are chilled, sweet and contain noodles. This desert is much simpler and at the same time utterly refreshing. Think of it as a sweet flavored slush mixed with thin frozen noodles .
Did I mention that it is a quite simple recipe? In fact it is ridiculously easy, considering the flavor it packs. Start with a simple syrup. Mix 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a sauce pan, and bring to boil . Simmer for about 1 minute and turn the heat off to cool completely. There you have the simple syrup.
Simple Syrup is a great thing to have on hand, in fact I have some always in the fridge during summer breaks when the kids are home. Simple syrup and some lemons work well to keep the the little hands occupied for say an hour. The added advantage is that all that juicing (child labor warning !!!), leaves the kitchen smelling fresh !!
While the syrup is cooling prepare about 1/2 C rice vermicelli according to package instructions. Usually this involves bringing some water to boil and immersing the vermicelli in the boiling water . Let it stand for a few minutes and drain . If the vermicelli were long break it into 1 to 2 inch long strands before cooking . Once the syrup is cooled add about 1 Tbsp of freshly grated orange zest , the cooled noodles and 1 C freshly squeezed orange juice to it . Mix well. You could use falooda noodles or any of the thin rice vermicelli.
Pour this mix into a flat pan , here I have used a 8X8 tray and keep in the freezer for about an hour or two . The time varies depending on how thinly the mixture is spread . Remove from the freezer. By this time the ice should be forming on top, but the entire mix is not frozen solid. Use a fork to rake the top of the ice and break up the mix. Return to the freezer. If there were a lot of liquid, repeat the process one more time .
When ready to serve , gently stir the ice with with a spoon and place in the serving cup . Add a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice and garnish with chopped pistachios .