Rice Phirni is a gluten-free Indian milk pudding prepared with powdered white rice, milk, and sugar. It is a widely popular festive sweet dish in the Indian subcontinent. The taste of phirni is very similar to rice kheer but the texture is thicker.
Talking about Phirni, there are different stories talked about its origin, some believe it came into existence during the Mughal era, as a royal desert.
Today Phirni is a popular sweet dish in India. Usually, it is served in traditional style, in earthen pot ware (Mitti Ke Kulhad or Matki). In ancient times refrigerators were not invented so serving Phirni in earthen vessels had a purpose behind, it remains chilled for a longer duration and has a particularly pleasing taste to it.
For Phirni recipe and many other Punjabi recipes, I swear by Tarla Dalal’s “Punjabi Khana”. There are no out of the box recipes in this book but each recipe turns out good in the first shot.
I think when you want to learn basic in and out of Punjabi food then start with simple books like this one. No complex masalas, clean and clear method of cooking explained stepwise and easy to understand language – perfect for an amateur home chef.
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Rice Phirni Recipe
- 1- litre full fat milk
- 1 Cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 Cup rice
- a pinch of saffron strands
- 3 – 4 green cardamom pods
- 1/4 Cup almonds
- 1/4 Cup pistachio
- To prepare the Phirni, wash and soak rice in water for about 1 hour.
- Dissolve saffron strands in 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside.
- Make a fine powder of pistachio, almond and cardamom in a mixer. Set aside till required.
- Drain soaked rice in a colander, pat dry rice on an absorbent kitchen towel.
- Blend rice in a mixer to a coarse powder. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add ½ Cup of milk (at room temperature) to the powdered rice and mix well to make a paste. Keep aside.
- Boil remaining milk in a heavy bottomed pan, reduce the heat to low once milk starts bubbling.
- Now stir in the rice paste, saffron mixture and dry fruits powder.
- Keep on stirring frequently until the pudding starts to thicken which will not take long after you add rice paste to milk.
- Now add sugar. At this stage, it is always better to taste Phirni and adjust the amount of sugar accordingly. Once all the sugar is dissolved and rice is cooked, the pudding is ready.
- Now if you like it a little loose and flowing Phirni then turn off the heat. If like it thicker like I do then cook a little further.
- Turn off the heat, let Phirni cool down for some time. Stir it every once in a while preventing it from forming a thick layer on top.
- Once Phirni has cooled down pour it into earthenware containers. Keep in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. I keep it for a longer duration like 4 – 5 hours.
- Serve Rice Phirni chilled garnished with chopped nuts and saffron strands.