Kesar Phirni recipe to make this decadent and creamy ground rice pudding richly flavoured with saffron. Phirni is a slow-cooked Indian pudding made with ground rice, milk, sugar and kesar!
This traditional Indian sweet is easy to make milk pudding that you can make at festivals and get-togethers. Ground rice and full-fat milk is slow-cooked and flavoured with saffron, cardamom or rose water and nuts are added in a small amount. The pudding is very aromatic because of using basmati rice and saffron.
Firni is traditionally served in small earthen pots shown as Sikora or matki. The flavour of firni gets enhanced because of the infusion of earthen flavours.
This Kashmiri phirni is very simple to make. You just need to take care of 2 simple steps. First is temperature and time and second is the texture of ground rice. I will talk about both in detail in the step by step process.
Difference between Phirni and Rice Kheer
Kheer is another dessert that is made with similar ingredients. They look somewhat similar too. But the taste and texture are different. Kheer is made with whole rice while phirni is made with ground rice. This makes the texture and mouthfeel of both the deserts different.
Phirni is served child/cold whereas you can enjoy kheer warm or cold.
Ingredients for Phirni
Rice – Traditionally Phirni is made with flavorful basmati. But you can use any flavourful white rice to make it. I have made it with Gobindo Bhog rice and it tastes delicious.
Milk – For the rich and creamy taste Whole milk is best to make phirni.
Saffron and Rose Water – Since it is kesar phirni you need good quality saffron or kesar for the traditional taste. Rosewater is optional. I usually don’t like the flavour. I skip that.
Nuts – I have used slivered pistachio and saffron water to garnish the phirni. It adds a nice crunch in otherwise creamy phirni.
Sugar – You can add regular sugar or jaggery to sweeten it. I use any of these depending upon the preferences of family members. If you are a diabetic and avoid sugar you can add stevia.
Step by Step Process
Wash rice thoroughly in plain water and drain out the water.
Let the rice grain dry under the fan or dab them dry over a kitchen towel.
Now grind these rice in a dry grinder. Keep the texture of rice coarse. It should resemble rava or couscous. Never make a fine powder.
Keep these rice aside.
In a small bowl, soak a few strands of saffron in 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Heat one litre of milk in a pan and allow it to simmer till it becomes ¾th of the volume.
Now add ground rice, mix them.
Cook the rice and milk for 10-12 minutes until it starts to thicken and starts looking like pudding/custardy consistency.
Keep it stirring in between.
Now add sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add saffron water and rose water (if adding).
Mix well and switch off the heat.
Transfer this to another bowl and chill it in the fridge.
Stir well before serving in a bowl. Garnish with pistachio slivers and some saffron water.
Although some recipes suggest soaking saffron in milk, here’s a secret for the max flavour: always soak in water. I have learned this from Iranian traders in Dubai Spice souk who showed this to me by doing it with both methods. So ALWAYS soak saffron in water.
Keep the dessert stirring frequently especially after adding ground rice. Otherwise, It may form lumps or stick to the bottom.
Cook the phirni on slow heat to make it more creamy.
Phirni is always served in clay pots or mitti ke sakore. Clay absorbs extra water to make it thick and infuse a subtle aroma in the phirni.
Other than this saffron phirni You can add fresh fruit puree to make any fruity phirni. You can make apple firni, mango phirni, strawberry phirni, or even a blueberry phirni. These are not traditional versions though.
For traditional classic Phirni, you can add saffron and cardamom. For rose flavour, one can add rose petals, rose water and instead of sugar, you can sweeten that with gulkand (rose petal jam). You can make another version by adding 2-3 drops of kewra water which has a delicious flavour too.
How To Store?
You can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days and enjoy it cold. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
More Such Recipes
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- ¼ cup rice
- 1 litre milk
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 30 saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons pistachio
- Wash rice thoroughly in plain water and drain out the water.
- Let the rice grain dry under the fan or dab them dry over a kitchen towel.
- Now grind these rice in a dry grinder. Keep the texture of rice coarse. It should resemble rava or couscous. Never make a fine powder.
- Keep these rice aside.
- In a small bowl, soak a few strands of saffron in 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Heat one litre of milk in a pan and allow it to simmer till it becomes ¾th of the volume.
- Now add ground rice, mix them.
- Cook the rice and milk for 10-12 minutes until it starts to thicken and starts looking like pudding/custardy consistency.
- Keep it stirring in between.
- Now add sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add saffron water and rose water (if adding).
- Mix well and switch off the heat.
- Transfer this to another bowl and chill it in the fridge.
- Stir well before serving in a bowl. Garnish with pistachio slivers and some saffron water.