As we learned recently, we're not the only fans of gorgeous, fragrant rose water. This is our very favorite use for it – Persian ice, or faloodeh, a splendidly refreshing combination of rose water, lime juice, sugar, and noodles. Yes, noodles!
Faloodeh is one of the earliest known frozen desserts, dating to ca. 400 BC in Persia. This version is particularly associated with the city of Shiraz, while other variations exist across the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. The sweetly scented ice has the consistency of a granita or slush with the added texture of chewy noodles made from rice or corn starch. It's a unique combination and wonderfully sensory eating experience.
We have tried out a few different recipes and the recipe below is a hybrid, taking what has worked best for us and been simplest to make on a hot summer day. Be sure to serve the faloodeh with fresh lime juice or lime wedges (lemon works, too), which balances the floral, sweet flavors of the ice. Sour cherries or sour cherry syrup are also highly recommended, as are other traditional garnishes like pistachios and mint.
Faloodeh (Persian Rose Water Ice) Serves 4
1 cup sugar 1 cup water 1 tablespoon rose water 1 ounce dried rice sticks or vermicelli Fresh lime juice or lime wedges Optional garnishes: sour cherries, sour cherry syrup, berries (mulberries, blackberries, raspberries), pistachios, mint
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in rose water. Let syrup cool completely.
Place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover and let stand for five minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut or tear noodles into two-inch pieces.
Combine noodles and syrup in a shallow glass or metal baking dish. Place in freezer.
After one hour, remove from freezer and stir with a fork. Return to freezer for another hour, rake with a fork, and then put back in freezer until desired consistency is reached, about one to three more hours.
To serve, rake with a fork and scoop into bowls. Serve with fresh lime juice or lime wedges. Also delicious with sour cherries or sour cherry syrup, fresh berries, pistachios, or mint.