Firni or phirni, also known as “Indian rice pudding”, allowed to set in a shallow earthen dish, and garnished with strands of saffron, chopped almonds and pistachios. It is made with ground rice and milk. Phirni is usually prepared during festivals like Diwali, Holi, Lohri, Baisakhi, Eid. What makes this rice delicacy different from Kheer and other Indian desserts is the rich & creamy texture of the delicacy that is prepared with rice blend and infused with aromatic essence.
The exact origin of phirni has not been documented. It is believed to have its origin in the middle eastern cuisine, it is believed to have been introduced to Indian cuisine by the Mughals. Phirni is considered to be equivalent to Kheer of Punjabi cuisine, or Payasam of Kerala Cuisine, as well as Payash of Bengali Cuisine.
Traditionally Phirni is served chilled, in an earthen bowl or clay cup. The earthen bowl gives it a pretty look. It also tastes better because of its typical sondha (Petrichor – the smell of earth after first rain) flavour. Garnishing plays a very important role. It is usually eaten with dessert spoon or traditional wooden spoon.
Phirni should have thick pouring consistency, like custard. Neither too runny nor too thick.
Phirni Recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor
Phirni - A delicious and nutritious dessert by Sarika Sankar Das
Origins of rice pudding or Firni