Life. Love. Food

Swahili Cooking Class II – Faluda

I love experiencing how different people from different regions enjoy their meals. It opens up your mind to a lot more and that is how you grow. When I go to a new place, I try as much as possible to try out new things for that very reason. Lamu was the perfect place for an adventurous culinary experience.

I noticed that the people of Lamu like to incorporate as many flavors as possible. You will find something savory, something sweet, something a bit tart and something a bit spicy. They make their banquets a whole experience. Our Swahili cooking class reflected exactly that. Now that we made something savory, it was time to delve into the sweet. Faluda is a jelly-like dessert with soft floral notes and mild nutty taste. And guess what, it is so easy to make!!!!


Faluda Ingredients

1 liter of milk

1/2 a cup of sugar

Agar Agar 1/2 a cup

Rose flavoring

1 tablespoon of freshly ground cardamom seeds

Almonds and Raisins for garnish



In a bowl, Put your agar agar in a bowl with some water and allow it to soften. The set aside.

agar agar which is an ingredient which serves the same purpose as gelatin. It is a key ingredient while making faluda since it produces the jelly like texture of the dessert_lamu food festival

#KKTip : Agar Agar is a gelatin substance which when mixed with any other liquid produces the jelly like texture. Gelatin comes in many forms and agar agar is one of many. In Nairobi, you can get gelatin powder in Walibhai Karim along Biashara street. It fulfills the same purpose

In a pot, add your sugar and ground cardamom seeds.  Once the milk has warmed slightly, add the liquefied agar agra and mix it in for about a minute or two. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Kenyan culture_henna_kinu_pestle and mortar_Lamu food Festival_kaluhiskitchen.com_faluda

For a more intense cardamom flavor, toast them slightly on an ungreased pan. Once they become fragrant, proceed to crush them. It may seem like a small step, but a necessary one and makes a huge difference. This brings out and intensifies their flavor a great deal.

The first ingredient for making your faluda is milk, Put it to boil in a pot and allow it to simmer down_african sweets_

mix the milk with the agar agar thoroughly so that it is evenly distributed_kaluhiskitchen.com_lamu food festival

Pour the milk in a jug and add your coloring. Ummu used a rose coloring, which added the pink color, floral taste and aroma. I loved that flavor!

how to make faluda_put the milk with the agargar in a jug for the next

add the rose flavoring which adds color, mild flavor and aroma_how to make faluda_kaluhiskitchen

Mix it in then pour these into a bowl and allow to cool.

pour the milk into a bowl and allow ti to cogeal, this will take about 20-30 minutes depending on the method you

#KKTwist: For color, you can use any you want. I personally would still go with pink so Raspberry colorant would be my choice. For  aroma or maybe even more flavor, I would add orange extract or vanilla extract (not essence).

You can put this is the fridge to hasten the solidifying process. Since Lamu is one easy going town, we went turned to the air to get the solidifying going. It took quite sometime, but the solidifying still its is a rapid process. Plus, being at the coast, the coolness of a faluda solidified in the fridge would be very much welcome :))

faluda is usually garnished with skinned almonds and dried fruit just before serving_kaluhiskitchen.com_lamu food festival_swahili cooking classes

After that, Ummu garnished with some skinned almonds and some raisins and decorated the tray with some flowers <3 Can you see how the Lamu people take presentation seriously?!! I loved that! We eat with our eyes first always!

In the picture above and the one below, you can almost feel the jelly texture of the faluda by looking at the surface. The agar agar worked its magic!

top food blogs in kenya_kenyan food_kenyan dessert_kaluhiskitchen.com_faluda_lamu food festival

#KKTwist: While eating, I enjoyed the contrast between the texture of the crunchy nuts and the soft faluda. But once the garnish was done, only the soft faluda was left and I kept adding more almonds for some textural difference. In addition to garnishing with the nuts, I would incorporate some into the faluda so that each bite has some textural contrast from the first bite to the last. In addition to the skinned almonds I loves, I would probably add pistachios and finely chopped dried mango rind.

After that, it was time to dig right in!!! We made this at the Sea Suq restaurant which is right at the sea front. Sitting down to enjoy our own creation, overlooking the sea and enjoying the breeze and great conversation was very much worth it. Incase you missed the first dish we made during our swahili cooking class, Makaki ya Kulisha aka Swahili Pizza, please do sheck it out HERE.

I hope you recreate faluda at home and enjoy it just as much as we did.

Happy Eating!


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  1. fifi

    Where in Nairobi can I get vanilla or strawberry extract? I can only seem to get the essence 🙁

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Check out the Instagram page @Naisenyafoods. She has the best vanlla extract, real vanilla extract in town.

  2. Neelma

    Hi. Love your blog.
    I’m looking for agar agar in Nairobi. Can I find that at Walibhai Karim or gelatin? I don’t want to use gelatin as it is not vegetarian. Thanks

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you so much Neelma.

      As for getting actual agar agar, you can just try your lack at Walibhai. I cannot guarantee that you will get it but you can try see if its there.

  3. Catherine

    can one use honey instead of sugar been avoiding sugar for several months health manenos..

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Just use sugar, Honey wont give you the desired outcome

  4. Raili owindi

    Please note that gelatin and agar agar are different ;products. Gelatinous is of animal product, a protein, obtained from bones and tendons of young animals. Agar agar is obtained from edible red seaweed and is a carbohydrate, a polysaccharide.. A substance called carriage is extracted from seaweed and widely used in food industry as a setting agent and stabilizer.
    Both while heated in liquid dissolve in water and when cooled hold liquid in jelly like solution.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      I am aware that they are different. Thank you! But because they are both able to form a jelly like consistency when added to water is the reason I recommended gelatin as a substitute of agar agar. I KNOW scientifically that they are different, but one can be a substitute of the other. I believe in the blog I have written that they are substitutes of each other and not one and the same thing. Please read the post once more :))

  5. Poul Jensen

    Hi there. Im Polle from Denmark. I am also very interested in cooking and wanted tontrymoutmthe swahili cuisine, and by coinsidence found your blog. I just tried your faluda……was so easy and delicious. I made it 3 ways …ina tipped glass, in cupcake forms and bowl as you did…..was super, i definately will try out more of the swahili food. Thanks and take care 😀

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Hey!!!! So glad to know you tried it and loved it! Hope you try out more and more of the recipes on here <3

  6. Tabitha Ng'ang'a

    Hey@kaluhi’skitchen thanks for the tip on where to buy gelatin.How much is it being sold for and in what quantities?

    • kaluhiskitchen

      I do not know. You can pass by the shop for details

  7. Peninah m

    Hey kaluhi I am in Nairobi and trying to find some edible gelatin please advise

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Biashara str

  8. Frida

    Hey Kaluhi, where do I get the agar agar if I decide to use it instead of gelatin

    • Kaluhi

      Details in blogpost

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