Phirni – Rice and Milk Pudding

Talking about Phirni, nobody knows about the roots of Phirni, some believe it came into existence during Mughal era, as a royal desert, today Phirni is a popular sweet dish not only in India but in Pakistan too and even after so many years it is till served in traditional style – earthen potware (Mitti Ke Kulhad or Matki). I think in ancient times fridge was not there so Phirni might be served in earthen vessels so that it remains chilled while serving and I have tasted Phirni served in glass bowls or steel vessels, those dishes lacked the soul of Phirni.

Ingredients:

1 Litre Milk
3 Tbsp Sugar or as per taste
⅓ Cup Long Grained Basmati Rice
2 Tbsp Condensed Milk (Optional)
Few Strands of Saffron
2 Tsp. Cardamom Powder
For Garnishing:
Chopped Nuts and saffron strands

Instructions:

Dissolve saffron strands in 2 tbsp of milk and keep aside.
Wash and soak rice in water for about 1 – 2 hours.
Drain soaked rice in colander to get rid of excess water. Pat dry rice on an absorbent kitchen towel and blend in a mixer to a coarse powder.
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 heavy bottomed pan and reduce temperature once milk starts bubbling.
Cook milk at low temperature stirring frequently until the milk reduces to its 3/4th quantity.
Now stir in the rice paste, saffron mixture and cardamom 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 condensed milk and sugar. At this stage, it is always better to taste Phirni and then add sugar as per the requirement because condensed milk also has some amount of sugar in it.
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.
Once you turn of the heat, let it cool a little. 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 and keep in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. I keep it for a longer duration like 4 – 5 hours.
Serve chilled garnished with chopped nuts and saffron strands!! Happy Diwali!!

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