The blue paint is chipping off some of the benches, while others are glossily newly painted over the old paint in attempt to hide the distress the wood has seen in last 15 years. The walls are covered entirely by advertisements, the same ones I saw as a child. Adverts of ice creams and drinks they no longer serve or even manufactured still proudly hanging in all its glory despite the wear and tear. A particular poster with a girl next door model, in her gypsy top and rugged jeans advertising cola heightens the 90's appeal of this tiny cafe in my hometown in Rajasthan, India.
While sitting there waiting for our orders, it was as if time has stood still, I was still the adamant 10 year old, insisting with Papa on getting one more ice cream and the owner would hand me another kulfi without Papa's consent. 'Le lene do - saal main ek baar hi toh aati hai India' - Let her have it, she only comes to India once a year, he would tell Papa.
Being a Bohra pilgrimage town people flock in huge numbers all year round and this cafe has served thousands of people with their signature falooda - a milkshake flavored with rose syrup, vermicelli and gelatinous basil seeds. Though generally topped with Indian ice cream like kulfi or vanilla, this cafe makes homemade rooh afza ice cream to go with the falooda.
As kids, we would only have the ice cream and ask for extra scoop leaving behind the milkshake. It is only as adults we learned to love the entire experience of the falooda but the thought of that ice cream has always infatuated me. So couple of weeks back I made it. And have made three batches since trying to perfect the recipe. On its own, in a milk shake, in falooda, or as falooda ice cream with garnish of basil seeds and vermicelli - this fruity, floral, herbal icecream has a blushing peach pink color and rose flavor perfect for summers.
Talking of my hometown, I thought I'll share pictures of the nearby farms I visited while there. We thought we'll find some locally grown mangoes but instead found acres and acres of land filled with chickoo trees.
Rose And Rooh afza Ice cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (125g)
350 ml whole milk
250 ml heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rose water
2 tbsp rooh afza/rose syrup, I wrote in more detail about this syrup here
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick.
In a saucepan heat the cream, milk and vanilla mixture just until it starts scalding.
Remove 1/2 cup of the dairy mixture and slowly add it to the egg mixture whisking as you go.
Once the egg mixture is tempered, slowly add it to the dairy mixture and whisk with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the back of the spoon.
Switch of the flame and whisk in the rose water and rooh afza.
Chill in an ice bath.
Churn in an ice cream maker as per manufacturers instructions.
Freeze for at least 4 hours.
You can also fold in rose jam (gulkand) for more rosiness!