The last recipe in Niloufer Ichaporia King's new Parsi cookbook, My Bombay Kitchen, is a light dessert drink hat's supposed to be served on March 21st, the Parsi New Year. It is certainly delicious enough to have year round, though, or perhaps on our own New Year's Eve in a few weeks.
It's a cinch to throw together. Soak some basil seeds in water (just a teaspoon or so will be enough for several people, since they swell up quite a lot). Once they've had a chance to swell, spoon some into each glass. Add whole milk up to about an inch from the top of the cup, then pour in some saffron or rose syrup, and top it with a bit of vanilla ice cream.
Stir everything together with a long spoon when eating it. The basil seeds provide a refreshing crunch, and the saffron or rose syrup flavors the creaminess marvelously.
You can buy basil seeds at Kalustyan's (Lexington Ave at E. 28th St. in Manhattan), and rose syrup is available there as well, and at Sahadi's (Atlantic Ave. at Court St. in Brooklyn), among other places.
If you prefer to use saffron syrup, as we did, it's simple to make your own at home. Just steep a pinch of saffron in some hot water, then simmer it in a pot with equal parts saffron water and sugar until it thickens into a simple syrup. Strain out and discard the saffron, and chill the syrup, which will keep indefinitely in the fridge.
Saffron syrup is our new favorite condiment, after making it for this shake. We plan to put it on all our ice cream sundaes from now on, and soak it into our homemade baklava.