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Phirni rice pudding

Phirni Rice Pudding

  • Author: Julie A. Cockburn
  • Yield: 4 + 1x


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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