I was inspired by Phoenix Beer‘s old punchline for this post title. Alouda must be the non alcoholic counterpart of our famous mauritian beer though jus limon and jus tamarin give it some strong competition.
Corruption of the original indian falooda, our local milk-based drink is a much-sought form of refreshment on any summer day. It can be bought at the foodcourt of any marketplace, the Port Louis market’s Alouda Pillay being the standard here. It is also being industrially produced and marketed in 175ml cups by Maurilait in many commercial stores.
Basil seeds [also known as thai basil or sweet basil seeds]is one of the more important ingredients required for making alouda. Jelly made out of agar agar is also added for texture. Agar agar is readily available in most supermarkets as sticks, sheets or powder but you can substitute it with the same amount of unflavoured gelatin.
2 1/2 cups milk powder
6 cups cold water
1/2 cup fruit syrup/ sirop
1-2 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs basil seeds/ tocmaria
1 sachet [5g] agar agar powder
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Ice cubes, to serve
- Dissolve agar agar powder in 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and add 2tsp strawberry syrup or sugar to mixture.
- Remove from heat and pour in anotherbowl or mould.
- Allow to cool and set at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Once set, coarsely grate agar agar or cut into small chunks. Reserve.
- Clean basil seeds. This is best done in advance as it takes time; basil seeds often come along with lotsa tiny impurities.
- After cleaning, soak in 1/2 cup warm water for about 30 minutes or until seeds swell up and stick together as one big slimy mass.
- Prepare milk by stirring milk powder in 6 cups water. You can use the same volume of fresh or UHT milk if that’s what you have on hand.
- Add fruit syrup, sugar and vanilla/almond. Stir until well combined.
- The commonly used syrups are strawberry and almond but vanilla, raspberry and rose syrups are good alternatives. You can find these flavours from the range of our locally produced Sirop Dowlut.
- Once milk is ready, leave it in fridge until it is nicely chilled. I find it handy to store the milk in a couple of plastic pitchers from Daiso.
- Be careful not to keep milk near meat or spices as it can easily pick up odours from neighhbouring foods in the fridge.
- To serve, place 4-5 ice cubes at the bottom of a high ball glass.
- Add 1 tbs grated agar agar and 1 tbs soaked basil seeds.
- Pour the chilled milk over and serve right away.
Some people like to thicken their alouda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some evaporated milk. You might need to adjust sugar content accordingly. If you make large amounts it’s a good idea to store milk, agar agar and basil seeds in fridge in separate containers and mix them just before serving.
Milk makes alouda is a nutritious drink while the other added stuff acts as mild laxative. You should be careful, however, when buying alouda on the streets. Contaminated water and unhygienic handling may turn it into a source of infection, resulting in acute gastroenteritis and other GI disorders.