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A Phirni with a Twist

Chef Ranveer Brar adds an aromatic version with anjeer to the classic Indian delicacy

Ever thought if there is one festival with fasting and feasting equal parts?

Yes, it’s Ramzan! 

If there’s one unifying love that binds die-hard foodies, young and old alike, during the official season of fasting and feasting– it has to be the traditional and heirloom feast that features sweet meats such as phirni. 

With diet charts going for a toss and guilt-free binge eating at its peak, most home-cooked iftar meals and street food lanes buzzing with Ramzan specialties offer rounds of the creamy, aromatic rice pudding served in earthen bowls. 

Throwing shade at its contemporary counterparts; think: souffle, macarons, cheesecakes and the likes, phirni is more of a comfort food rather than a dessert. A quintessential part of any festivity and celebration, rice puddings are ancient desserts and every region has its own version of this delicacy. In India, Phirni, a Mughal delicacy as the dish is believed to have originated in ancient Persia or the Middle East, is known to have Kashmiri origins. Served as the fitting finale to the Kashmiri wazwan, a traditional multi-course feast prepared mainly for weddings and special occasions of the Muslim community in Kashmir, Phirni is a regional delicacy often laced with strands of saffron and dry fruits.

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Also read: Curry up with this rogan josh recipe

Although all the delicacies from Kashmir are a celebration of the rich and diverse bounty of the region and their flavours, the humble phirni, is a star dish that is widely popular even outside Kashmir due to the sheer simplicity of its flavours and textures.  According to chef Ranveer Brar, the dessert gets its name from an important step involved in making phirni – stirring. “When making this, one has to continuously stir the ingredients in the pan and the word ‘phirni’ literally translates to stirring in Persian,” he explains.


Also read: How to make kheer at home

On the show, Northern Flavours – Meethi Masti, Brar shows an easy recipe to whip up anjeer phirni under 30 minutes.
He starts with grinding soaked rice and then mixing the paste with milk, without avoiding lumps. Once done, he cooks the rice and milk mixture in a thick-bottomed pan, stirring it continuously. Simultaneously, he cooks peeled figs, sugar, fennel powder, cardamom powder, and cinnamon powder to make a caramel-y paste that he adds to the rice-milk mix. Brar keeps aside a spoonful of the anjeer mix for plating. As the phirni thickens, saffron strands are mixed in water and left to cook for a few minutes. He plates the anjeer phirni in small earthen pots and refrigerates for a few hours to set. Before serving, he sprinkles powdered sugar over the cold anjeer phirni and caramelises it with a blow torch. 

Check out this Hindi recipe video for the full ingredients list and step-by-step instructions:

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