Recipe and photo contributed by Robyn Kalajian at thearmeniankitchen.com.
Known as one of the earliest frozen desserts (The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks dates it back to at least 400 BC), faloodeh was kept in dome-shaped ancient refrigerators known as “yakhchals.” Made of thin vermicelli noodles that are frozen with rose water, starch and sugar, the flavors of the “Persian Sorbet” are intensely accentuated with a nice, generous helping of lemon juice.
Legend has it that faloodeh was the first frozen dessert ever made, and that it was invented largely by accident, when flavoring syrups were spilled on snow, and people realized that they could be transformed into a delicious treat. Whatever the origin, Faloodeh is native to the city of Shiraz, and is often called Shirazi Faloodeh. Today’s faloodeh is often served with sour cherries (or sour cherry syrup), fresh mint, berries, crushed pistachios, and/or a dollop of saffron ice cream. Lemon juice is sometimes added instead of lime. Made with vermicelli noodles, faloodeh is the ultimate summer time treat and vegetarian-friendly.
“As I was organizing my pantry,” Robyn says, “I saw a partial bag of thin rice noodles that I’d used for a Thai recipe a long time ago. Apparently, these noodles can last a life-time, if stored in an air-tight container. Since I had no intention of discarding the dried noodles, I wanted to find a use for them that would be more in keeping with Armenian cuisine.”
“Since I’d never heard of an Armenian-style recipe calling for rice noodles, I was surprised to find one for a frozen dessert called ‘Faloodeh,’ in an article from the ianyan online magazine written by Liana Aghajanian. Then it hit me…I had heard of a recipe with a similar-sounding name called ‘Paludeh ye Shirazi’, from the cookbook, “Persian Cuisine” by M.R. Ghanoonparvar.” This recipe was adapted by Robyn Kalajian from the cookbook, Persian Cuisine.