Vegan potlucks are one of the best things about being vegan! Something wonderful happens to people when they go vegan. They suddenly become adventurous in the kitchen. They try new ingredients, spices, techniques or even gadgets that they had never even heard of before! At a vegan potluck a potato salad isn’t going to be your run of the mill potato salad. It’ll have inventive ingredients such as cashews to replace the mayo and fresh dill instead of the pickles. So if you love food, never ever decline an invitation to a vegan potluck ;)
I’m excited and honoured to be a part of this virtual vegan potluck which was the brain child of an unrefined vegan and is being hosted by Vegan Bloggers Unite! But by now you are probably asking how did the Persian Empire get involved in this potluck? Well that needs a bit of a quick history lesson!
By around 400 BC Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. These structures that housed ice were called Yakhchal, literally meaning ‘ice chamber’. For it’s time this was quite an achievement and to have access to ice all summer long was a luxury only available to the rich. So it’s no surprise that the earliest form of ice desert, which dates back to 400 BC was only served to royalty. This frozen dessert was and is still called Faloodeh. Then it was reserved only for royalty. But now it can be enjoyed by all!!
1/2 cup thin vermicelli rice noodels
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2-3 tbsp Rosewater *
1/2 cup lime juice (3 – 4 limes)
sour cherries, raspberries or blackberries for garnish (optional)
* Rosewater can be found at middle eastern stores. If you can’t find it you can leave it out.
In a glass bowl or in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup, add a cup of boiling water to the 1 cup of sugar. Stir until all sugar has dissolved. Add rosewater, stir and mix well. Transfer this mixture to a shallow glass or metal dish, and once cooled put in freezer. Check every hour and mix it with a fork, much like a granita. Before the mixture gets too firm and completely iced over, cook the rice noodles. Unlike savoury dishes you want to cook the rice noodles until it is extremely soft. First crush the rice noodles into bite size pieces, about 1 – 2 inches long and cook them in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and wash with cold water to cool down. Mix the noodles with the slushy granita and divide into 4 serving dishes. If the mixing of the noodles and transferring it into serving dishes has melted the granita too much, then pop it back into the freezer for another half an hour. You want it to be pretty icy, not watery at all, because now you’re going to add the lime juice over it, and that will help it melt back to slushy again. Garnish with sour cherries or any other tart fruits and enjoy.
As easy as this recipe is, I had never made it until yesterday. Faloodeh is sold at ice cream shops in Iran, and like ice cream, it’s not something that you really make at home. But when I saw a picture of my cousin eating a bowl of this, I suddenly got a craving for it and since there’s no Iranian ice cream shops in Canada, at least not in my city, I had to make some! As soon as I ate one spoon of this I was transformed back to when I was 6 or 7 years old! I really wasn’t expecting this, but it was so vivid it was as if I had gone back in time. Back then my parents would take me to this really popular ice cream shop in Tehran and we’d order Faloodeh or ice cream with berries and jello. The place was a happenin’ place, it was busy, there were line ups and there were lots of cool looking young people. I loved it, as I felt very grown up, being in the same hang out joint as the cool teenagers. And my dad would let me order my own Faloodeh or ice cream, so I felt even more grown up!
For me the recipe was a trip down memory lane. For you, I hope it’s a nice cool dessert to have on hot summer days that are coming up! And you better have some room left as the desserts continue on our virtual vegan potluck with Rachel in Veganland!
If somehow you missed the dessert before mine on the potluck line up, then you need to go back and check out Lindsay Is Vegan!