Whole Milk (3.2%) – 1.5 litres
Whipping cream or half and half – 1 cup
Condensed milk – 1 can
Agar Agar (china grass) – Half the quantity of a 42gm pack
Sugar – 1/4 cup or as per taste
Saffron – a pinch
Slivered almonds – 2 tbs sliced
1. Boil the whole milk in a big pot. Add the condensed milk, sugar and whipping cream or half and half and let it simmer for sometime. The whipping cream gives a smooth and creamy texture. Health watchers can use skimmed milk and cream, but have to compromise on the taste as it will not be as rich and smooth as this one.
2. Meanwhile cut half of the agar agar from the sheet. Rinse it in water. Boil 1/2 a cup of water, immerse the agar agar in it, lower the heat and let it dissolve. Give it a stir to blend well.
3. Let the milk boil a bit by raising the heat, then lower the heat and slowly pour the dissolved agar agar mixture into the pot through a strainer while stirring continuously. This is to avoid lumps.
4. After adding do not raise the temperature as it will curdle the milk. You have to be really careful at this stage. The temperature should be constant. Sometimes lowering and then raising the temperature again and again also affects the texture and all the effort goes down the drain with the curdling of the milk and you can do nothing about it.
5. Use a wooden spatula and do not scrape the bottom of the pan as we do not want the any browned milk shavings from the bottom swimming in the milk. This gives a bad appearance to the falooda.
6. Dissolve the saffron in 1tsp of warm water after powdering the strands in a mortar and pestle. Blanch the almonds, sliver them and keep aside. Keep a dry 10 – 12 inch stainless steel walled plate or a pie plate ready.
7. Allow the milk to boil again after adding the agar agar for just one or two mins on medium heat and then pour it immediately into the pie plate. After a couple of minutes when you see a film of layer on the surface it is time to sprinkle the slivered almonds on top so that they just stick to the surface and sit there. Let the falooda set at room temperature in a cool place away from the heat source.
8. Once it is set, dip a toothpick in the saffron solution and make a design on the falooda or just dab it with a brush or the back of a spoon here and there as I did to give it some color .
9. Chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
10. Cut into either diamond shapes with a knife or into any desirable shapes with a cookie cutter and enjoy.
You can find Agar Agar (china grass) in any asian or indian grocery store.