Chetna’s Falooda milk

Growing up, Falooda milk was only make 2 places. The first one being the first of the last three nights for our annual Navarti prayers.

The elders and founders of our youth society would claim that night as theirs for years and years. One of the elders of the youth society was our late Priest’s wife and boy could she make delicious falooda milk. She would always add scoops of frozen ice cold vanilla ice cream just before serving… yummy. Now days in the blazing heat of summer, people serve warm milk. Nothing turns me off, that going up to get something to drink and finding out the milk is warm and then still getting a cup with the milk skin on. I don’t have the finesse to remove that skin like a lady. I will remove it with my fingers and look for someone who will then remove it from my finger. Sometimes if my parents are around, I silently wipe it off on them without them knowing and then silently disappear to the other side of the hall.

The other occasion is Eid. My granny would have jugs and jugs of this in the fridge. Nice and sweet and oh so cold. She however didn’t put ice cream in hers, but the milk was soo cold it didn’t need the ice cream. Then one day, after school, I opened the fridge to steal myself a glass full and what did I see. Huge huge cubes of china grass and seeing as I never knew what china grass was and had never tasted in my life before. I gave it a try. HMMMM yes that really did stop me from, drinking my Gran’s Falooda milk. When she would offer it to me, I would make her strain it. I just couldn’t stand the feel of the china grass on my tongue.

With all that being said, who would have thought that china grass would become a staple in my pantry when my mother became a vegan? It is a miracle powder, sets jellies without bovine gelatin.

About 5 years back, I made my Gran’s falooda recipe and I added china grass, but instead of cubing the set jelly. My mother recommended I grate it and that was the best trick she gave me. I have never looked back and now I have to have china grass in my milk otherwise it is just rose flavoured milk. How fussy I have become.

While paging through Chetna’s first cookbook. I stumbled across her version of falooda milk and I was intrigued. I was always taught that everything gets mixed together and then poured into a glass and enjoyed. Chetna’s version was different, you layered everything in the glass and as you drank so everything got mixed.

I was under the impression that this concept wouldn’t work. I would have gone through the ice cream layer and milk layer even before the rose syrup had a chance to mix. Yet again I was proven wrong. Once the straw went in, the layers started to combine, nothing like a few stirs with the straw to bring everything together.

The only down side to this recipe, was that I ran out of basil seeds and had to substitute with chia seeds. My parents didn’t seem to notice the difference so it was a big. My mother enjoyed it. My dad acted difficult by spilling half of the top layer all over the table and wanted a spoon to eat it with. Our Indian ancestors must be turning in their grave for him.


  • 1 x tbsp. sweet basil seeds.
  • 2 x cups water.
  • 50g x set china grass, grated or glass noodles.
  • 8 x tbsp. rose syrup.
  • 400ml x cold milk.
  • 4 x scoops vanilla ice cream.


  • Soak the basil seeds in water for 30minutes and then drain all the water off.
  • Pour a few teaspoons of the rose syrup into the bottom of your glass.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of the basil seeds.
  • Add 100ml milk.
  • Top with a handful of the grated china grass.
  • Add 2 scoops of ice cream
  • Add more milk if needed. The milk should come up to the brim of the glass.

Tell me what you think of this recipe