Phirni is a delicious and easy Indian rice pudding brought to India by the Mughals. This dessert is a perfect sweet treat for summers and Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Eid.
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Almost every country across the globe has its own version of rice pudding-like Kheer and Phirni from India, Riz bi halib from Lebanon, Arroz con leche from Spain, Pulut Hitam from Malaysia, Khanom Sor Sai from Thailand, Riz au lait from France. These are just a few examples and I believe there is no country that doesn’t have a unique recipe of rice pudding. The best part is that though rice and milk are used in almost every rice pudding, they all taste different.
I will try to cover rice pudding from different countries in my blog, and starting with a recipe from India.
This easy and tasty dessert is believed to be brought to India by the Mughals.
What’s the difference between Phirni and Kheer
The method of preparing kheer and phirni is quite similar but there are a few major differences in these two recipes:
- Kheer is made with whole grains of rice whereas phirni is made with coarsely ground soaked rice. This small difference in one of the steps completely changes the taste and texture of phirni.
- Kheer can be served hot, warm, or chilled. Phirni is always served chilled. That’s why it’s considered a great summer dessert and is mainly made during summer festivals of India like Holi and Eid.
Tips & Tricks
- While cooking the phirni, ensure to stir it continuously for at least initial 8-10 minutes. After that also keep stirring after every 1-2 minutes otherwise you will get lumps in it.
- Traditionally this dessert is set in clay bowls. In the older days when there were no refrigerators, clay pots were used to keep it chilled. Also, the clay pots absorb all the excess moisture from phirni giving it a very nice texture and firmness. This pudding also gets a delicious subtle earthy taste if served in clay pots. However, if you could not find clay pots, use normal pudding bowls, the phirni will still be delicious.
The recipe which I have shared here is the most basic one. However, it’s made in several different forms. Some of the Phirni variation suggestions are given below:
- Once the ground rice gets cooked, add the puree of your favorite fruit like mango to make fruit Phirni
- Add saffron strands to the milk and make Kesari Phirni.
- For a warmer flavor, add ground cinnamon to it.
- If you are open to experiments and want to try a non-traditional Phirni flavor, add cocoa powder or ground coffee to it. You can add both also for the Mocha flavored Phirni.
More easy Indian dessert recipes
More summer dessert recipes
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Step by step photo instructions
Phirni- An Indian rice pudding
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1 litre full cream milk vegans may use cashew milk
- 1/2 cup sugar adjust as per taste
- 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
- 5-6 drops rose/ kewra essence
For garnishing (optional)
- chopped pistachio
- dried rose petals
- saffron strands
- green cardamom powder
- Soak rice in water for around 30 minutes. After 30 minutes discard water and put the soaked rice in a grinder with around a tablespoon of water to make a coarse paste. It should be grainy like semolina.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan boil milk. Add rice paste and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring continuously otherwise lumps will get formed in the milk. After that cook it for another 10-15 minutes stirring in between.
- When the milk thickens and reduces to almost half in quantity, add sugar, cardamom powder, and rose essence. Mix well and cook for another five minutes or until the sugar gets dissolved.
- Put the phirni in clay pots or any normal serving bowls and put in the fridge for atleast 2-3 hours.
- To serve, take out from the fridge, garnish with chopped pistachios, dried rose petals, saffron strands, and cardamom powder. Enjoy chilled!
- Traditionally phirni is served in clay pots. It not only keeps it chilled for a longer time but also gives a very nice texture by absorbing the extra moisture. However, if you could not find clay pots, use normal serving bowls.