Phirni

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Kesar phirni or firni is a traditional Indian dessert that is made using milk and rice. This Mughlai sweet is a treat to eat and is very easy to make. Here is how to make it.

Try these kheer recipes if you like Indian-style rice pudding – Seviyan Kheer, Carrot Kheer, Makhane Ki Kheer, Sabudana Kheer, and Badam Kheer.

About This Recipe

Firni or phirni is a rich & creamy Indian (Kashmiri) dessert that is made by slow-cooking ground rice with whole milk and flavorings like saffron and cardamom. Slivered nuts are added to it for a lovely crunch.

Phirni or as it can be called Indian rice pudding was traditionally brought to Kashmir by the Mughals but it is now popular all over India and even Pakistan.

Since this has been made from the times of kings, some people also call it shahi phirni.

This rich, creamy and indulgent dessert is apt to make for festivals like Diwali, Rakshabandhan, Karwa Chauth, and for any special occasions.

Ingredients

RiceUse any flavorful white rice to make this dessert. I use basmati rice but Gobindo Bhog, Indrayani, Ambemohar, etc can be used too.

Milk – Whole milk is best to make phirni. I do not recommend using skim or low-fat milk to make this dessert.

Ghee – A little ghee gives a nice earthy flavor to this dessert.

Saffron and Rose Water – Flavor the rice pudding with saffron and rosewater for a traditional taste.

Nuts – Garnish the phirni with slivered almonds and pistachios for a lovely crunch.

Sugar – Adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste and preference. I do not suggest using jaggery or any other sweetener to make this dessert, as it will take away from the authentic taste.

How To Make Phirni

Rinse 3 tablespoon white rice with water and soak it in 1 cup of water for an hour.

Drain the water and add the rice to the small jar of a blender along with 1 tablespoon water and blend to make a coarse paste. Keep scraping the sides of the jar while blending.

Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a non-stick heavy bottom medium size pan over medium heat.

When the ghee is hot, add 32 fl oz (1 liter) whole milk to the pan and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring frequently while heating.

Add the ground rice and 15-20 saffron strands to the milk and stir well.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes until the phirni has thickened. The consistency of phirni should be like that of a thick custard.

Keep stirring at regular intervals while cooking to avoid the formation of lumps. Also, keep scraping the sides of the pan regularly. Keep in mind that it will further thicken upon cooling.

Add ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon rose water to the pan and mix well. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste. Cook for another minute until the sugar is dissolved.

Transfer the phirni into individual serving earthen bowls. You can use glass or ceramic bowls too. You can also serve the phini in one large serving bowl instead of serving it in individual servings.

Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Dried rose petals can also be used for garnishing. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap so that the phirni doesn’t absorb the smell from the fridge and refrigerate it for 4-5 hours before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make vegan phirni?

To make it vegan, use coconut milk or almond milk instead of regular milk and skip adding the ghee.

How to make firni using condensed milk?

Cook the phirni as per the instructions given on the recipe card. Once it is reduced to half and the rice is properly cooked, add ½ cup sweetened condensed milk. Taste the phirni and add sugar if required. If not, skip adding the sugar. Chill and serve!

What is teh difference between kheer and phirni?

Made with milk and rice, this dessert is very similar to kheer (another version of Indian rice pudding). The difference between kheer and phirni is that kheer is made using whole rice grain while rice is ground coarsely to make phirni. Phirni is also thicker and creamier in consistency than kheer. Kheer can be served hot or cold but phirni is always served chilled.

Variations

Phirni can be flavored using various ingredients and you can make many variations of this dessert.

Add cardamom powder or kewra essence for a nice flavor.

Add pureed seasonal fruits and make variations like Mango, Apple, Strawberry, or Orange Phirni.

Rose syrup (rooh af za) and gulkand can also be added to it to make a rose-flavored phirni.

Add some Khoya (reduced milk solids) to make Shahi Kesar Khoya Phirni.

You can also substitute rice with sooji (semolina) and make a delicious Sooji Firni. It is a great option if you want to avoid rice in your meals.

Thandai Phirni that is flavored with Thandai Powder is a delicious variation that you can make for the festival of Holi.

Serving Suggestions

Phirni is always served chilled so plan it a few hours before you want to serve it.

Phirni was traditionally served in individual clay (earthen) bowls called shakore which absorbed the extra moisture making it creamier and richer. But you can definitely serve it in your regular serving bowls.

Storage Suggestions

Firni will last in the refrigerator for about 2 days when stored properly in an airtight container. It is not recommended to freeze it, as it will split while you thaw it.

You Might Also Like

  • Thandai Powder
  • Kesar Badam Milk
  • Shrikhand
  • Kesar Pista Kulfi

Recipe Card

Phirni Recipe

Phirni is a traditional Kashmiri dessert which is made using milk and rice. This Mughlai sweet is a treat to eat and is very easy to make. Here is how to make it.

4.38 from 8 votes

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 106kcal
Author: Neha Mathur

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons raw white rice
  • 34 fluid ounces whole milk (1 liter)
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 15-20 strands saffron
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • Almond and Pistachio Slivers for Garnishing

Instructions

  • Rinse rice with water and soak it in 1 cup of water for an hour.
  • Drain the water and add the rice to the small jar of a blender along with 1 tablespoon water and blend to make a coarse paste. Keep scraping the sides of the jar while blending.
  • Heat ghee in a non-stick heavy bottom medium size pan over medium heat.
  • When the ghee is hot, add whole milk to the pan and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring frequently while heating.
  • Add the ground rice and saffron to the milk and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes until the phirni has thickened. The consistency of phirni should be like that of a thick custard.
  • Keep stirring at regular intervals while cooking to avoid the formation of lumps. Also, keep scraping the sides of the pan regularly. Keep in mind that it will further thicken upon cooling.
  • Add sugar and rose water to the pan and mix well. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste. Cook for another minute until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Transfer the phirni into individual serving earthen bowls. You can use glass or ceramic bowls too. You can also serve the phini in one large serving bowl instead of serving it in individual servings.
  • Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Dried rose petals can also be used for garnishing. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap so that the phirni doesn’t absorb the smell from the fridge and refrigerate it for 4-5 hours before serving.

Notes

Use any flavorful white rice to make this dessert. I use basmati rice but Gobindo Bhog, Indrayani, Ambemohar, etc can be used too.

To make it vegan, use coconut milk or almond milk instead of regular milk and skip adding the ghee.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 51mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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