Phirni, a sweet rice pudding happens to be one of the popular dessert dishes in North India and Pakistan. Though the origins are quite unknown, Mughals probably introduced it to us. Though phirni has a special place in North Indian cuisine, it is relatively an unknown one down in South, where we come from.
A coarse rice paste is simmered in milk until a thick consistency is reached, then sweetened with sugar and flavored with cardamom and saffron and garnished with nuts. This is the basic 'phirni' for you. There are a few delightful variations that takes this basic phirni to new levels.
Add diced mango to this flavorful phirni to end up with this mouthwatering aam - kesar one or the mango - saffron phirni, a true summer treat.
Ingredients: (For 4 servings)
1 ripe mango, cubed (about 1 cup)
8 - 10 saffron strands
4 Tbsp rice (I used Basmati)
4 cups milk
Sugar to taste (I used 5 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 Tbsp each - Almonds & pistachios (blanched & slivered)
* Wash and soak rice in water for about 30 minutes or in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then drain and grind the rice to a paste adding water as needed.
* Dissolve the saffron strands in two tablespoons of warm milk.
* Heat the remaining milk. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and gently stir in the rice paste. Keep stirring to avoid lumps. Simmer until the mixture thickens, about 12 - 15 minutes. Phirni should be fairly thick like custard.
* Add sugar and cardamom powder and continue to simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the saffron and turn off the stove.
* When phirni comes to room temperature, stir in mango cubes saving a few for garnishing. Refrigerate the phirni.
* Serve chilled phirni in individual bowls garnishing with pistachios, almonds and mango cubes.
Mango puree may be added instead of diced mango.
This phirni is on its way to
1. Priya Suresh's Celebrate Sweets - Sweets with Rice, an event originally started by Nivedita.
2. Reva's Healing Foods - Mango, an event originally started by Siri.
Microwave Version Pineapple Jam:
When I have over ripe fruits, I sometimes use them to prepare jams in microwave. However I prepare in small quantities since I don't use any preservatives. This time, I used pineapple to prepare jam and flavored it with cloves and cardamom.
Ingredients: (I got a little more than 1/2 cup)
2 cups pineapple cubes
1 tsp lemon juice (Optional. I just added it for the tang as a small quantity of lemon doesn't contribute towards pectin.)
Sugar to taste (I used about 6 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
2 - 3 cloves (optional)
* Puree the pineapple cubes with juices (if any saved.) This step is optional but I prefer it to get a jam of uniform consistency.
* Add the puree and the remaining ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and cook for about 10 - 12 minutes, stirring in between.
* Discard the cloves and use.
Stop cooking before the desired consistency is reached since it gets thicker as it cools down. Don't worry if the jam comes out hard because of the error in timing. Add a few Tbsp of water and reheat it in the microwave for about a minute or so.
This goes to R's Veggie / Fruit of the month - Pineapple, an event originally started by Priya Mitharwal.