Serves a Crowd


November 17, 2020
1 Ratings
Photo by Amrutha Harsha Rao
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 6
Author Notes

Indian rice pudding made of powdered rice cooked in milk and sugar, and delicately flavored with pistachios, rose, cardamom and saffron.

Phirni wasn't a dish that was ever made at home, in fact, if you ask my mother she would probably put this on her 'never ever eating that' list! Phirni was something I discovered on my own and learned to make and soon enjoyed making. It was an easy and simple dish that I could whip up for any Indian dinner party and also play around with the flavors in the dish.

Phirni also has a special place in my heart, this was the dessert that won me a photo award, so for that reason, this is something that I hold near and dear to my heart.

Check out and try my phirni recipe and hope it makes a special place in all your hearts as well! —Amrutha Harsha Rao

What You'll Need
  • 0.25 cups basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 0.66 cups pistachios
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 0.75 teaspoons distilled rose water
  • 2 teaspoons slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
  1. Thoroughly wash & soak the basmati rice for about 30 mins to an hour in room temperature water. Make sure that all of the rice is covered & there's enough water for the rice to absorb over the duration of the soak.
  2. Drain the water well & grind the rice in a blender. You're looking for it to be the consistency of rava or semolina. If you have lots of uneven pieces run the mixture through a sieve to remove the larger pieces. You want some texture to the rice and don't want to make this an extremely smooth paste. I find that this makes the dish very gummy at the end.
  3. In the blender place the pistachios & 2-3 tablespoons of the milk and grind to a smooth paste. You want to make sure that there are no large pieces of pistachios in the paste as this can affect the consistency of the final dish.
  4. In a clean & dry deep pan add in the milk & rice, mix well and place over a medium-low flame, stirring continuously to ensure the rice doesn't settle to the bottom and begin to clump up. If you feel like the rice is settling & clumping up switch to a whisk and very gently whisk the rice to keep it moving. You don't want to agitate the rice too much here that will also cause the dish to become gummy.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil and while stirring add in the pistachio paste & sugar.
  6. Mix well & dissolve the sugar completely and cook for a further 6 -7 minutes to ensure the rice is fully cooked and all the flavors are melded together.
  7. Lower the flame to the lowest setting, or take off the heat if your stovetop is harder to control, and add in the rose water, cardamom powder, & saffron strands and stir well.
  8. Turn off the heat and move off the stove to ensure there is no more heat being applied to the dish. If you feel that your rice has clumped and is affecting the consistency of the dish you can run the mixture through a sieve to strain out all the lumps.
  9. Cover with a lid & allow to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating for about 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with slivered almonds & dried rose petals and serve cold.
  10. Extra Tips: • Make sure you use long grain rice for this dessert. Short grain rice tends to have a higher starch content and can make the end result extremely slimy & gummy. • I used distilled rose water in this dish as it has a milder flavor when compared to rose extract. If you can only find and have rose extract on hand use 1/4 teaspoon rose extract instead. On the flip side if you can't find it or don't have it on hand you can completely omit it from the dish. You will have to adjust the cardamom powder to ensure you have a well-flavored dessert.

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