Phirni is to Indians as rice pudding is to westerners. Rice is one thing which is consumed by the rich and poor irrespectively all over the world. Rice is a staple of Indian cuisine. Phirni is the North Indian version of the rice pudding. In south India, Basmati and brown rice, as whole is taken for this purpose.
A creamy pudding, rice and milk are the heroes in this soul satisfying sweet dish. A number items are added to make it royal. It is believed that this dish originated during the Mughals era. What ever it is, this dessert has reached far and wide in different styles in every continent, aptly adopting the palate and sinking in the colors of the particular geographical and culture.
India is bound by different cultures, languages and races. Food is one thing which bind us all together. Irrespective of the region, sweet dishes and desserts are prepared on daily basis. A bright new day starts with the consumption of anything sweet. Simply some yoghurt with sugar, is given when one starts his day which is considered auspicious in many parts. Breakfast and lunch platter is served with a dessert in the traditional way. Such is the importance of desserts in our culture. So imagine when festivals are around.
Holi, a festival colors, a win over bad is one festival we celebrated recently. Easter is coming up and it is celebrated equally in a big way in my region. So this can be a dessert which can be made without much effort but holds a high stature in terms of its richness and garnishes. Phirni is usually served in tiny individual clay pots. You can prepare this in advance and chill it out. Setting it in clay pots make it more creamier and imparts a certain added flavor.
Rice is soaked in water and grounded to paste. I have grounded it coarsely, like semolina so that you feel some texture. It completely depends on how you prefer it to be. So go all the way out and try it in your style. I’ve added normal sugar in this as I wanted the color to be off white for photography purpose. It can be replaced with the sweetener of your choice.
I’ve added soaked, de skinned and ground almond to this phirni. When almonds are added it’s also called almond phirni. Though I won’t call this almond phirni as it’s not almondy. I’ve added the smooth fine paste of almonds to enrich this dish and make it creamier. For an easy version, almond meal can substituted instead of paste.
Basic recipe just holds rice, milk and sugar. Rest of the flavorings, enrichment all depends on your imaginations and taste buds. Garnishing is as important for this dish as it’s flavors. Cardamom, saffron and rose water have been added to enhance the total flavor. Rose petals, almond cuts or flaked almonds and other nuts of your choice is used for decorative purpose as well as crunchiness. Saffron strands can be utilized for making it colorful and pretty.
Whenever I post a recipe for special occasions, my mind is clogged with different pictures of you all celebrating and serving my recipes. So do send in pictures whenever you put your sleeves up and prepare my recipes.
Wash and soak rice in plenty of water for half an hour.Drain well in a sieve. Transfer to a grinder. Coarsely powder it.Grounded rice should be of semolina texture.
Soak the almonds in hot water. Rest for half an hour. Peel the skin and grind to a fine paste with quarter cup milk.
Boil 5 cups of milk adding sugar. Let it boil for 5 minutes
Add the rice. Mix up and boil on low flame till it starts to thicken. Keep stirring otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan.
Reduce the milk to half the quantity. Scrape down from the edges at constant intervals
Add the Almond Paste and condensed milk. Integrate well with rice mixture. Cook for further 5 minutes. Add in 3/4th teaspoon of Cardamom powder. Combine and cook for 1 more minute.
Turn off the stove and rest for 5 minutes
Add the rose water and give a Final mix up.
Transfer to tiny clay pots or the dessert bowls
Cool and enjoy!!!!!