Makhana Phirni is a creamy Indian style foxnut (lotus seed) milk pudding. The parfait is a celebration of delicious phirni layered with fruits, nuts, and crispy fried bread. It is creamy, nutty, and light, befitting the idea of festive food with a twist.
About Foxnut (Makhana):
Foxnut or the phool makhana is the lotus seeds. The seeds are edible after processing and very high on nutrition. The foxnut is a low carbohydrate substitute for rice and is readily available in the supermarkets across India.
Foxnut has the appearance somewhat like a button mushroom. The most common use of lotus seeds in the Indian kitchen is to munch them while observing religious fasting as they are considered pure and unadulterated. One can use foxnut to prepare curry or phirni.
Making Makhana Phirni Parfait:
Start by lightly roasting the makhana in a bit of ghee for about five minutes. Grind them in the mixer till they are powdered but still have some texture to them (not too finely).
Since milk is the base of this phirni, boil some in a thick bottomed dish. We need to use full-fat milk for this dessert to get the creaminess we desire. The milk is flavored with nuts, spices, saffron, sweetened with sugar, and left to simmer for a while.
Later, the lotus seed powder is added to this and mixed and left to simmer on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Once the phirni is ready, it needs to be kept in the fridge to get chilled.
Different layers of the phirni parfait :
Since a parfait includes layering, you’ll need to assemble ingredients for each layer beforehand:
- Phirni layer – The lotus seeds milk pudding that we refrigerated earlier
- Fresh Fruits – Use whatever fruits you like or are in season. I have used a mix of mango, apple, pomegranate, and strawberry. But make sure the fruit has a sweet taste and not sour.
- Dry Fruits – You can use toasted nuts like cashew, almond, pistachios, walnuts (crushed into smaller pieces), and raisins. Even edible rose petals can also be used.
- Bread Croutons – Fry some dry bread in ghee till crisp as we do for shahi tukda. These ghee fried bread croutons add crunch and a shahi tukda like character to the whole parfait.
How To Assemble Phirni Parfait?
Prepare the makhana phirni well in advance and keep in the fridge to chill.
Meanwhile, chop the fruits into bite-size pieces. Make sure to cut them just before assembling the parfait as fruits might lose their freshness.
Deep-fry the bread croutons and transfer to a plate lined with a kitchen towel. Slightly warm bread croutons served on top of chilled phirni is quite a decadent combination.
Serve an equal portion of phirni in cups or dessert glasses. Transparent glasses/cups are preferred so that one can see the layers of the dessert.
Top the phirni layer with fruits, fried bread croutons, and toasted nuts. Once the layering is done, serve phirni parfait immediately else the fruits, and the bread croutons lose their freshness.
Is phirni serve hot or cold?
It is a matter of personal choice. During the summer season, most of us like to enjoy phirni chilled, whereas, on a cold winter night, it is best served warm or at least at room temperature. But phirni parfait is always served chilled.
How to thicken the firni?
The best way to make thick and luscious firni is to use full-cream milk. Simmer the milk over low heat and add back the cream collected on the sides to the milk. Once the milk is reduced to half the original amount, then only add powdered lotus seeds. The right proportion of milk and foxnuts powder will always get you thick restaurant style phirni without using any corn-flour.
Watch Makhana Phirni Recipe Video:
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Kesar Makhana Phirni Parfait
For Makhana Phirni:
- 1 liter full-cream milk (full fat milk)
- 2 Cup lotus seeds (foxnuts/makhana)
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron (kesar)
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1/2 Cup granulated white sugar or to taste
- 2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
- 1/4 Cup almonds (badam)
- 1/4 Cup pistachio
Ingredients for Phirni Parfait:
- 2 Cup diced fruits (peach, mango, apple)
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate pearls
- 1 tablespoon sliced pistachio/almonds
- 2 white bread slices
- 1/4 Cup ghee (clarified butter)
How To Make Kesar Makhana Phirni:
- Make a coarse powder of almonds and pistachio in the blender. Set aside until required.
- In pan heat ghee and roast foxnuts for 5 minutes. Pulse in a blender once to make a coarse powder. Keep aside
- Take milk in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the cardamom powder and saffron strands. Boil on low flame. Keep on stirring at regular intervals.
- Once the milk is reduced to half the original amount add the foxnut powder and dry fruits powder. Stir to combine nicely.
- Allow the milk to simmer until it thickens and stir at regular intervals. Add the sugar, simmer the phirni for 3 – 5 minutes or till sugar is dissolved and then turn off the heat.
- Allow the phirni to cool down completely. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
How To Assemble Phirni Parfait:
- Dice the fruits into bite-size pieces. Slightly dry roast the nuts.
- Heat ghee in a pan and fry the bread croutons till crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Divide an equal portion of makhana phirni into the serving bowls/glasses. Add a layer of fruits, nuts and bread croutons.
- Serve makhana phirni parfait immediately.
- It is best to use full fat milk for making creamy Indian desserts such as phirni.
- Stir the milk at regular intervals while simmering to avoid burning. Use a wooden spoon to stir the milk and phirni.
- Do not make a fine powder of dry fruit or foxnut. Keep it coarse in texture. One pulse in a food processor or blender is enough.
- Make sure to add sugar only after the phirni is nearly done.
- Phirni thickens in texture after cooling. Hence, adjust the consistency accordingly.
- Allow phirni to chill in the fridge for 4 – 5 hours or overnight before serving or assembling the parfait.