What's in a name? - Rose Phirni

What's in a name?
That which we call a Phirni
By any other name would taste as sweet...
(my apologies to Shakespeare!)

I had the good fortune of growing up in quite a lot of places. Though starting from scratch in a new city seemed daunting as a child, I now appreciate how it exposed me to a variety of cultures and more importantly, cuisines!

At one time we were living in a big colony with very friendly people and I remember celebrating everything from Diwali and Onam to Eid. During Ramzaan a family living across from us would never fail to send us a bowl of Phirni.

Phirni is esentially a Middle Eastern dessert and variations can be found in Lebanese, Moroccan and Afghani cuisines. It was probably introduced to our country by the Mughals. There are quite a few versions out there as there are spellings - hence my pun on Shakespeare's famous lines.
There is Badami (with almond paste), Kesari (with saffron) and Aam (with mango pulp), but I will share with you Mrs. S' recipe for Gulabi Phirni - thanks to my mother who grabs a good recipe when she spots one!


(chilled phirni decorated with rose petals)

GULABI PHIRNI (Rose flavored rice pudding)
(serves 4)
4 tbsp Basmati rice
3/4 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
3 cups milk
2 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp gulkand (rose petal jam)
4 cardamoms, powdered
crushed almonds and pistachios for garnish

Wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes. Grind the rice to a paste with a little water. Boil milk in a pan with cardamom powder.
When it starts boiling add rice paste and stir to avoid lumps. Stir in the sugar. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes until the milk thickens considerably (phirni is usually thick and custard-like).
Add rose water. Remove from heat and add gulkand after a few minutes. Pour into individual bowls, garnish with crushed nuts and serve chilled.

* If the gulkand has thickened, add a teaspoon of honey and microwave before adding to phirni



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, i have to know my fondness for

11:36 PM  
Blogger sailu said...

I have tasted some of the best phirnis at my Muslim friends homes and just love the flavor.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Sury said...

That looks delicious. I want to give it a shot using your recipe. Just checking, what is gulkand?

11:51 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Thanks Anthony, let me know the results.
Me too Sailu. Muslim biryanis and phirnis are the best.
Sury - gulkand is essentially rose jam. Its what panwallahs in India smear on the betel leaves along with chuna. Pink roses are soaked with honey for a fortnight to make gulkand. You are lucky, as you can get some of the best gulkand in India (try Jaipur for awesome taste)!

9:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i too made some phirni this weekend!
When browsing through all the recipes online for phirni i discovered yours... :)

Well mine is an extremely simple version of yours...

Just wanted to make sure i was doing the right thing :) THANKS!

12:11 AM  
Blogger anapunyeblog said...

Hi,just want to tell u that your blog very interesting to read and all the recipes looks delicious!!

It makes me hungry right now...

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey the tip you gave is really great regarding , when Gulkand get thicks. but i was wondering why would one have to add Honey , as it's already so sweet.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Perspective - looks great!

Ana-punya - thanks for your kind words

Anon - gulkand is made with honey but if it isnt used for a long time, it thickens to a messy blob. So adding a teaspoon of the same liquid then microwaving 'melts' it to a manageable extent. You could try adding water too I guess.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,
Where did you find gulkand in U.S?

11:09 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hi Shubum, welcome to FFT. The gulkand I used here was actually gifted to me by a friend, who got it from India.
But I have seen gulkand in Indian grocery stores here. Its sometimes called rose jam or rose petal jam. Also Middle Eastern/ Lebanese stores carry them too. You might just have to look a little harder as they are not prominently displayed. Good luck!

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prompt reply, Ashwini.I will keep a look out for rose jam in the Indian stores.

8:21 AM  

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