Faluda, like many Indian sweets, can be a heavy, super-sweet affair. There's a place for it, but not during the first days of spring. This version froths puréed raspberries with milk (though you could as easily use yogurt, half-and-half, or melted kulfi ice cream). You could sweeten it as much as you like, layer it with whipped cream, or spike it with ginger and cardamom. This lighter version just adds a garnish of candied ginger, which you could also dice up and add to the basil seed.
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Nam manglak can be as simple as water, crushed ice, basil seed, and some sweetener. This is ever so slightly more gussied up: flavored with rose, lime, and honey, made effervescent by rosewater. It's an unbeatably refreshing combination for the hot sticky days to come.
Sweet beverage drinkers can be divided into two camps: those like bubble tea and those who don't. Fans relish a sweet slurp mixed with mildly flavored chewy orbs; detractors regard the innocent pearls as nuclear caviar that should never cross human lips. If you're in the second camp, maybe we can still be friends, but I've got nothing for you this week. If, on the other hand, you like your beverages on the chewy side, basil seed is just for you.
[Photo: Kathy Chan] Growing up, my sister and I referred to this as "The Eyeball Drink," served by Mom as an afternoon refresher on a hot day. But really, it was nothing more than basil seeds re-hydrated in water...