Phirni is traditionally made with fragrant Basmati rice that has been soaked for a few hours, then slow cooked for hours in milk till it turns into a creamy, decadent pudding that is flavored with sugar, saffron, and chopped nuts. My grandmother always made the most amazing phirni as a sweet accompaniment to her famous mutton pulao. I am yet to eat something that matches – let alone beats – her cooking!!
The recipe below is an easier version that is very simple to make. No soaking or hours of cooking required. This phirni can be served warm, but it tastes best chilled. Make ahead the day before your Diwali party, and you have a fantastic dessert to serve.
Badam Phirni – Almond-Rice Pudding
- 20 almonds, blanched
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 2 cups + 1/2 cups whole milk / half & half / cream* – (do not use skim milk – the cream in the dairy is what makes this dish tasty)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- pinch saffron
1) To blanch the almonds, soak them in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Test one almond by pressing between your thumb and forefinger. The skin should slide right off. If it doesn’t, soak for a few more minutes. Drain the water and skin the rest.
2) In a heavy bottom (preferably non-stick) pan, add 2 cups of milk and bring to a simmer on a low flame.
3) Meanwhile, in a small blender jar, add the blanched almonds, 1/2 cup milk and rice flour, and make into a fine paste. Set aside.
4) When the milk comes to a boil, add sugar and saffron, and simmer till all the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.
5) Still on a low flame, slowly add the almond-rice mixture and whisk so no lumps form, and the milk is creamy.
6) Add the cardamom powder and simmer about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. The phirni will thicken as it cools to the consistency of pudding.
7) Pour into serving bowl(s) and garnish with edible silver, nuts, saffron, etc.
8) Can be served warm, cool or chilled.
9) Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight containers.
*I plan on making a vegan version with Almond Milk the next time. Will update and let you all know how it turns out.