Phirni (Indian Rice Pudding)

Beyond Curry

Inspired Indian home cooking.

Phirni (Indian Rice Pudding)

[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her newly-married husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.

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  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:2 1/2 hours


  • 1/2 cup long grained rice (preferably Basmati)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped coarsely


  1. 1.

    Wash and drain rice. Put it into a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 2 hours. Drain water away and grind the rice to a coarse paste in a blender or food processor (there should still be large pieces visible), about 10 to 12 one-second pulses.

  2. 2.

    Combine rice paste, milk, sugar, cardamom, and saffron into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the rice is completely tender, about 25 minutes. Add half of almonds and pistachios to the mixture. Stir vigorously and turn off the heat. Allow the phirni to cool and serve in individual bowls garnished with the remaining almonds and pistachios.