Tracing its roots to the Middle East, phirnee or ‘rice pudding’ is a dessert enjoyed by people of various cultures. Phirnee is also known as the more exotic cousin of the traditional kheer. It is said that a bowl of kheer is like a warm hug and a bowl of phirnee like a breath of cool, fresh air.
One such phirnee that not only renders that coolness but also stirs up some extra sweetness is the gulab phirnee. A fragrant and delicious rice dessert that is flavoured with rose petals, it goes particularly well with a traditional Indian meal that is laid out during the festival of lights!
Basmati rice – 6 tbsp
Whole milk – 1 ltr
Condensed milk – 400 gm
Water – ½ cup
Green cardamom – ½ tsp; freshly ground
Rosewater – 1 tsp
Saffron threads – 1 pinch (leave aside a few threads for the garnish)
For the garnish
Pistachios – 1 tbsp; crushed
Rose petals – 1 tbsp
Silver leaf – 1 pc
- Soak the rice in water for an hour.
- Strain and reserve all the water except for just 1 tablespoon.
- Grind the rice with the remaining water to a fine paste. Keep aside.
- Heat the milk and the condensed milk in a wide saucepan for about 5 – 6 mins. The liquid should be warm, not boiling.
- Add the rice paste and whisk it to ensure no lumps remain.
- If it starts to thicken too much, add the reserved soaking liquid.
- Cook on a very low heat, stirring it all the time, until the milk forms a custard-like consistency. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to thicken.
- Add the ground cardamom, rosewater and some saffron. Remove from the fire.
- Keep stirring as the mixture cools down.
- Set the phirnee in glass or terracotta bowls and refrigerate covered.
- Garnish with the silver leaf, crushed pistachio, rose petals and saffron.
This simple but refreshing recipe is a sure hit at all Diwali parties. Do share with us your experience when making it in the comments section below.