Phirni Rice Pudding

IndiaPhirni Rice Pudding

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I thought why not share some beautiful and unusual sweets from around the world this week.

Instead of the typical chocolate fest for Valentine’s Day, how about an enchanting Indian-inspired meal?

I can envision the house filled with the magical fragrances of ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and saffron. A beautiful lentil dal garnished with fiery peppers, a cooling cucumber raita, and a rich and savory korma (curry) shared with soft pieces of fresh naan bread sounds divine to me! (And just happens to be a list of a few of the recipes from the India chapter of my upcoming cookbook! Wink, wink! 😉 )

While you’ll have to wait for the cookbook to come out to get all the recipes, I do want to share the divine recipe for Phirni, an Indian rice pudding, contributed by the amazing Prachi Grover of Orange Kitchens. Prachi’s recipe is delicately flavored with saffron and cardamom – two of my very favorite, enchanting spices!

Share this recipe with your special someone this Valentine’s Day, and see where the enchantment leads!

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Phirni rice pudding

Phirni Rice Pudding

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  • Author: Julie A. Cockburn
  • Yield: 4 + 1x
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Indian rice pudding delicately flavored with saffron and cardamom.


Units Scale
  • 6 tablespoons white basmati rice, soaked in water to cover for 1 hour
  • 4 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or less if you like less sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder
  • 1012 shelled and sliced or roughly chopped pistachios for garnish


  1. Drain and grind the rice to a coarse paste in a blender. It’s important to grind the rice very finely, or the pudding won’t properly set. (If you need to add a little water to blend it, go ahead, but only add 1 teaspoon at a time.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan bring 3 3/4 cup milk to a boil over medium heat. Reserve 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon milk.
  3. Mix the rice paste in 1/2 cup cold milk to make a loose slurry, and add to the boiling milk. Stir.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is completely cooked, and the pudding is thick and creamy, about 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. Warm the final tablespoon of milk in a small saucepan, and add a pinch of saffron. Stir the saffron mix into the pudding.
  6. Add the sugar and cardamom powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved, a couple of minutes.
  7. Pour the pudding into individual serving dishes or one large bowl, and allow it to come to room temperature.
  8. Chill in the refrigerator to set, and just before serving garnish with pistachios. Alternately, garnish with a few strands of saffron, cardamom seeds, or any nut or dried fruit that you like – almonds, cashews, raisins, etc.. For Valentine’s Day, dried rose petals would be gorgeous!
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Hi! I’m Julie

Julie Cockburn with the Taste Of The Place cookbook

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