Firni (Rice Pudding)

We're on a bit of a diet fad at home right now, but every once in a while, there comes a time when one must indulge. We hardly ever make anything sweet at home, and this blog is evidence to that fact, but today was one of those days when the dark and rainy weather called for something sweet and warm.

Firni, Phirni, Fereni, or however you want to spell it, is widely cooked throughout Persia, Pakistan and India, and is incredibly simple to make. Today, I tried out the Persian/Pakistani version of the dish by adding in a little bit of rose water. According to me, it ended up with just the right amount of flavours, but I was told that to make it "really Persian", you need at least a couple more tablespoons of rose water. I preferred the lighter taste as it was, so we'll probably just have to agree to disagree on that one. :P To make the Indian version, you simply need to emphasize the cardamom more, and add in some cashew nuts in, or on, the pudding. And of course, you can also add in a bit of saffron for colour and taste, if desired.

We also tried adding a bit of cinnamon at the end, which really boosted the taste on the one hand, but also made me feel as though there were perhaps too many flavours meddling about. I can be very biased towards the blander side of food sometimes, so don't take my word for it. It was still very good and is definitely a taste of home.

Ingredients (Serves 3)
  • 1/2 cup plain rice flour
  • 3 cups skimmed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs rose water
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cardamom pod's seeds
  • 1 almond
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
  1. Soak rice flour with 1 cup of milk for 15mins (optional).
  2. Gently bring the rest of the milk up to a boil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add cardamom pods and the rice flour and milk mixture to the pot. Stir well to make sure no lumps form.
  4. Lower the heat down to a simmer and mix in the sugar. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in rose water, and cook for another 10 minutes or until it reaches a thick pudding-like gloopy consistency. 
  6. Serve either hot or cold, using almond flakes, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon powder as garnish.

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