This Homemade Falooda is a childhood favorite of mine! A uniquely delicious drink and very popular in South Asia, it’s a rose and vanilla flavored milkshake, that you will love too! 🙂
Authentic homemade falooda recipe, made from scratch with a homemade falooda syrup!
Updated: August 2019
Why you should make this falooda recipe (faluda recipe)
- It’s made from scratch. This homemade falooda syrup recipe is easy, and you know exactly what goes into it, unlike store-bought syrups.
- The flavor is TRULY authentic! Thanks to a simple, secret ingredient, the flavor of this falooda is 100% authentic.
- It’s an addictively delicious milkshake flavor that is also quite unique and exotic (especially if you’re not from the south Asian region where this drink is popular).
- Both kids and adults will love this milkshake!
What is falooda (faluda)?
Falooda is a very popular drink in South Asia. It originated in India, but it’s just as popular in Sri Lanka too. As kids, we used to frequent places called “Bombay Sweet shops” in Sri Lanka, that served traditional sweets from India. Visiting these stores were considered a treat, because you can actually SMELL the sugar and floral scents before you even entered the store. Apparently parents don’t like loading up their kids with sugar… who knew? Falooda was my go-to drink, and Laddu was my go-to dessert!
It’s a beautiful pink milkshake, that is not only unique in flavor, but has all these add-ins that give a chewy textural contrast to the creamy milkshake.
Why make this recipe from scratch?
It wasn’t by choice that I started making falooda from scratch. Since I moved away from Sri Lanka, it was hard to find authentic falooda syrup in stores. For years, I waited until I could buy the syrup from the local Sri Lankan store, but they didn’t always have it. The Sri Lankan falooda syrup was marketed as MD Artificial Sherbet Syrup.
And when I moved away from the city, it was even harder to find any Sri Lankan store, let alone the falooda syrup. I tried for many years to make this drink at home, trying all brands of rose water, rose extract, and sharbat syrup to recreate my childhood favorite at home. It was similar, but not the same.
Making this homemade falooda recipe from scratch,
- is great for anyone like me, that’s living overseas and has no access to this drink, or the syrup to make it with.
- for anyone who wants to know precisely what goes into their milkshake, because the store-bought syrup typically has a lot of preservatives and chemicals.
- for anyone who has never had falooda before, but wants to try a uniquely delicious milkshake!
Most falooda recipes online show you how to make the drink with falooda syrup OR with sharbat syrup. Falooda made with sharbat syrup misses a core part of the flavor of the authentic milkshake, and simply tastes like rose water +milk. Plus, store-bought falooda syrup has ingredients that have no business being in a kid’s drink.
So today, I’m going to show you how to make classic homemade falooda FROM SCRATCH, starting with the falooda syrup.
So what is the secret ingredient?
It is by happy coincidence that I was able to recreate this authentic flavor! I finally figured out the secret ingredient after years of trying different recipes. It was vanilla! Just good ol’ plain vanilla extract!
This Raspberry, Pistachio and Rose Swiss Meringue Buttercream was responsible for this serendipitous discovery. I remember asking Mr K to taste-test the frosting, which he did, and then stopped, reached out for a little more, tasted it again and then looked at me and said “this tastes just like falooda!” I told him it was rose water, not falooda syrup, but then when I tasted it, it hit me too! There was something that I added to my frosting (which I made using rose water) that made it taste like the falooda from our childhood.
After narrowing down the ingredients in the buttercream, I realized that it was vanilla! The SECRET (and for years, illusive) ingredient was the extract that I use religiously, in a lot of my baking, and had never thought was a core part of the falooda flavor!
If you use sharbat syrup to make your usual falooda drink, then I implore you, add a touch of vanilla and marvel at how much it transforms your drink!
Other additions to your homemade falooda
Since this is a milkshake, there are some ingredients that you can’t do without. But there are also several optional add-ins too.
Essential ingredients for homemade falooda
- Milk (non-dairy milk is fine too)
- Vanilla ice cream (non-dairy ice cream works too)
- Falooda syrup
- Tukmaria seeds, soaked
- Roasted vermicelli, cooked
- Red strawberry jello (or strawberry jelly for my non-american readers)
- Green or yellow jello
This is my favorite add-in for this homemade falooda (homemade faluda). Tukmaria seeds are also known as basil seeds, sabja seeds or kasa-kasaa, and they are similar to chia seeds. Much like chia seeds, these seeds develop a gelatinous coating when soaked in water, but it’s a much thicker coat than chia. If you can’t find this ingredient, you can add soaked chia seeds instead too, or leave it out altogether.
Some falooda recipes call for multi-colored jello to be added to the drink, but I stick with one to make life easier. So strawberry jello is my choice for this falooda recipe. I make it with only HALF the amount of water, and then let it set and cut into cubes. The result is really fruity, and slightly tangy pieces of jello that get sucked up the straw along with the sweet milkshake when you drink it! I love the contrast it adds in terms of flavor and texture.
I wasn’t fond of this as a kid, but love it now. It’s not the regular white vermicelli you can buy from the store. These are very thin noodles that have been roasted, and are yellow in color. They can be found in Indian stores.
I don’t really add nuts to this drink, but that’s just me. Since falooda is sometimes served like an ice cream sundae and milkshake, some like to top it with pistachios. But that’s optional.
How to assemble the ingredients for the most authentic falooda drink
Honestly, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this milkshake. But as a kid, seeing an ombre colored falooda always excited me! A deep pink at the bottom, transitioning to white at the top, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and the basil seeds floating on top. It was yummy and pretty!
But here are two ways to layer the ingredients to get two different looks for this dessert drink.
First method (ombre look)
Add the jello first, followed by vermicelli, and basil seeds.
Next add milk, and then pour in the rose syrup. The rose syrup should sink to the bottom, creating a pink ombre look. Finally, top it with ice cream, and a little extra jello. Serve with a spoon and a straw. Remember to stir the milkshake before drinking.
Second method (for streaks + ombre look)
Add the jello first, followed by vermicelli and basil seeds.
Follow with milk, and then add the ice cream.
Finally, pour in the falooda syrup. The syrup will spread in the milk because of the ice cream, creating red/pink streaks with an ombre look! Serve with a spoon and a straw. Remember to stir the milkshake before drinking.
The way you assemble it is ONLY important if you want the drink to look great when serving. You can just as easily mix the milk + syrup + ice cream together to make the milkshake base, and then add the toppings afterwards too.
Making falooda for a crowd
If you’re making this homemade falooda from scratch for a crowd, and don’t have time to pour each drink, then the mix and serve method will be the best way to serve it.
Mix the falooda + milk together to create falooda milk. Let this chill in the fridge until needed.
Then just pour this into glasses, with a scoop of ice cream and serve. The other add-ins are optional, so only add what you want.
What if I don’t want to use food coloring?
No problem! You have three options.
- Don’t add any coloring.
- Make the syrup with some saffron strands, which will make the syrup yellow in color. Still just as beautiful, and the saffron adds another lovely layer of flavor.
- Add a few pieces of raw beetroot when making the syrup to get the deep pink color. The pink shade will be different, and it will have an earthier taste, but it’s natural coloring.
Why you should try falooda today!
It’s a regional, uniquely flavored milkshake that’s hard not to love! 🙂 The kind that you’ve never had before, unless you lived in or visited South Asia, or your family is from there. It’s creamy and sweet like a milkshake, with a beautiful, floral fragrance and flavor, and also has tangy jello, and chewy vermicelli and basil seeds that have contrasting textures. It’s an indulgent dessert drink, and perfectly refreshing for summer too!
You can also customize this drink to your taste. Make it less or more sweet. Add more jello or none at all. Add more ice cream? Yes please! Plus who can resist an indulgent treat that looks so pretty too?
Sri Lankan Falooda Syrup & Drink (Rose and Vanilla Milkshake)
Authentic falooda recipe from South Asia. Made from scratch with a homemade falooda syrup! A delicious rose and vanilla flavored milkshake that you'll love!
Sri Lankan Faluda
- ½ cup Homemade Falooda Syrup (or store-bought falooda syrup) add more or less (to taste)
- 1 ½ cup cold milk (up to 1 cup)
- 2 tsp tukmaria seeds also called basil seeds/sabja seeds/kasa-kasaa
- ½ cup water to soak the seeds
- Strawberry jello jello cut into 1 cm cubes (about 1/4 cup)
- ¼ cup cooked, roasted vermicelli soaking in cold water
- ½ cup vanilla ice cream 1 scoop (or more), for each drink
- 2 cups white sugar 400 g
- ¼ cup corn syrup glucose syrup
- 1 ¾ cups rose water not rose water extract
- tiny pinch of salt
- 2 tsp Madagascar bourbon vanilla or a good quality vanilla extract
- Pink coloring avoid bright pink or neon pink
Shortcut for Falooda Syrup
- About 2 cups of bottled rose syrup
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
Strawberry Jello for Falooda
- 1 pkt strawberry jello 3 oz / 85 g size
- 1 cup hot water i.e. half the amount of water stated in the packet
Falooda Drink (for two people)
Soak the tukmaria seeds in about 1/2 cup of water for about 10 minutes, until they form a "gel coating". Set aside.
Chop the cooked vermicelli into smaller pieces and set aside, covered (to prevent the noodles from drying out).
Unmold the jello and cut into small cubes. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Take two glasses, and add some strawberry jello to the bottom. Follow that with about 1 tbsp chopped, cooked vermicelli. Next, add the soaked tukmaria (basil) seeds.
Pour about 3/4 cup of chilled milk (more if you like the drink to be less sweet).
Pour in the 1/4 cup of the falooda syrup (this should create a pink ombre look).
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (about ¼ cup) and a little extra jello on top.
Serve with a spoon and a straw.
Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1 ½ cups of rose water in a saucepan. Stir to combine and allow the sugar to dissolve over medium high heat. When the sugar has dissolved, let the syrup come to a simmer, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla and the remaining ¼ cup of rose water.
Add pink coloring to get a deep pink color. Allow the syrup to cool down completely before using.
Shortcut Falooda syrup
- For the shortcut version - just add the vanilla extract to the rose syrup and shake well to combine.
Empty the contents of the packet into a heat-proof bowl. Dissolve the contents in 1 cup of water (half the amount that is required to make jello as instructed in the packet).
Pour the jello mix into a dish, and let it cool down to room temperature. Then chill in the fridge overnight to set.
DAIRY FREE / VEGAN OPTION - To make DAIRY FREE falooda, you can use soy milk (or other plant-based milk) with vanilla soy or vanilla coconut vegan ice cream.