This is a Tabrizi dessert that my great aunt used to make when I was a very young girl. She called it Palda, which is the Tabrizi word for Paludeh or Faludeh. In some parts of Iran this is called Larzunak (something that shakes) because of its Jello-like consistency.
Palda is very different from the Persian dessert called Faludeh Shirazi which is made with very thin rice noodles and is served with lemon juice and sour cherry jam. Palda is a creamy wheat custard made with wheat starch and milk.
Palda is more similar to Masghati which is another wheat starch based dessert, but the added milk and using less starch makes Palda much creamier and a lot lighter in texture.
Palda is mildly sweet, delightfully creamy, and fragrant with a touch of rosewater. Some chopped green pistachios and a few dried rose petals used as garnish give this dreamy white custard a nice contrast in color.
So today I’m sharing my great aunt’s recipe with you and remembering the large round tray filled with her small light green bowls that she used to serve her Palda at the end of her dinner parties.
Both wheat starch and rosewater are sold in Persian/Middle Eastern markets. Though corn starch will make an adequate substitute, if possible use wheat starch since it makes the Palda much smoother and tastier. In a medium bowl whisk together the wheat starch and milk until the starch dissolves completely.
Gradually pour the milk and starch mixture into the boiling water. Continue whisking with a silicone covered whisk.
Once the mixture gets really hot and steam rises from the pot, add the sugar and whisk more and continue heating until the mixture thickens. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon add the rose water and remove from the heat after a couple of minutes. The mixture will not be very thick when hot, but will thicken further as it cools. Do not over cook.
Pour into individual serving bowls. Cool completely in room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Garnish with chopped pistachios and rose petals before serving. Enjoy!!
- ½ cup wheat starch
- 1 cup milk (I used 1%) Do not use skim milk
- 4 cups water
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup rosewater
- 1 TBSP chopped pistachios
- ½ tsp rose petals (optional)
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a 6-Qt nonstick stockpot over medium high heat.
- Mix the wheat starch and milk in a bowl and whisk until the starch completely dissolves in the milk.
- Add the milk mixture to the boiling water and keep stirring over medium high heat with a silicone covered whisk until the mixture gets very hot and steam rises.
- Add sugar and keep stirring and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture starts thickening reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring for another 10 minutes, or until the Palda thickens further and coats the back of the wooden spoon. Palda will thicken as it chills in the refrigerator. Do not overcook.
- Add the rosewater and continue stirring for an additional couple of minutes. Turn the heat off and pour into individual bowls.
- Cool in room temperature uncovered about 1 ½ hours. Cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Garnish each bowl with a few rose petals and chopped pistachio before serving.