Phirni or firni is an Indian dessert from the Punjab region. It is the more exotic cousin of a traditional Indian rice pudding or kheer. While a bowl of kheer is like a warm hug, a bowl of cold phirni is like a breath of cool, fresh air. This Punjabi classic is flavored with fragrant rose syrup and is best served chilled.
Whole milk – 4½ cups
Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Basmati rice – ¼ cup
Sugar – 6 tbsp
Rose syrup – 2 tbsp (can be replaced with 1 tsp rose water or 2 drops of pure rose essence)
Almonds – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use pistachios)
Dried rose petals – a few, to garnish (optional)
Wash the basmati rice in water a couple of times and soak in water for half an hour. This will make the grinding part easier.Using a blender, grind rice to a fairly smooth paste, adding a few tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, start heating the milk on medium-high heat. When the milk boils, add the rice paste and reduce heat to medium. Cook the rice, stirring often to avoid any lumps. In about 10-15 minutes, the rice will be cooked. Cook the pudding further till it reduces and thickens, maybe 10 more minutes.
Add sugar and rose syrup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste and add more sugar or rose syrup, if needed.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes, but not more than that as the pudding will begin to set as it cools.
Transfer phirni to a big serving bowl or individual dessert bowls (makes at least 6 servings) and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so that phirni sets properly.
Serve cold phirni garnished with chopped nuts and dried rose petals.
Read full post: Gulab Phirni (Creamy Rose Flavored Indian Rice Pudding)