Contrast..one thing that has always entertained mankind.
And elements of contrast in food are as fascinating today as they were always.They always leave food memories..whether it is the contrast of textures when you bite into pani-poori, or contrast of flavors when you appreciate the fashionable flavor of sea salt caramel or the contrast of temperatures when u finally hunt down that ice cream flavor that you were craving for ,on that hot summer afternoon.
Cold and sweet has been the human culinary endeavor from centuries. Around 2400years ago Persians figured out that ice tasted way better when it was sweetened and textured up with vermicelli. 200 years later the Chinese were freezing a thick mixture of rice and milk in the mountains up north and enjoying it with fruits. Chinese can also be credited with making the first ice cream /sorbet machines that use the principle of depressing the freezing point by adding salt petre. This technique as the story goes was Marco Polo’s “inspiration” that he transferred to the Italian gelato makers. It’s from this point on that the hero of today’s story, “contrast” took over.
Sicily went under Arab rule and the Arabs got hooked to the chilled dessert that finally beat the heat for them. Arabs were perhaps the first to use milk as a major ingredient in the production of ice cream. They sweetened it with sugar rather than fruit juices, and perfected the means of commercial production. As early as the 10th century, ice cream was widespread among many of the Arab world’s major cities, including Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo.
From here the cold confection found a way into Moghul hearts. Initially it was the boats full of ice and snow that landed in Lahore that created much folklore and later it was the mules in Jahangir’s service carrying snow from the Himalayas down to Delhi. It’s in Jahangir’s time that a Persian cook presented a faloodeh recipe that later got adapted to the Falooda!!
The ice cream that we know and crave for today had to wait till mid-1800s to be born!!
Oh and here’s a Persian Indian Freeze recipe
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp rose water
¼ cups subza seeds (tulsi seeds) soaked in water
2 lime wedges or 1tsp lime juice
1. Dissolve the sugar in the water.
2. Then add the rose water and let it cool in a freezer.
3. Soak the subza seeds for at least half an hour.
4. Blend/ crush the sweet ice to a sorbet texture, add the lemon and the subza.
Top with sour cherries….