Phirni (Rose Scented Rice pudding)

It’s Vaisakhi time!

Vaisakhi, also spelled Baisakhi, marks the start of the Sikh New Year and commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith. It falls on  April13th every year, and on April 14 once in 36 years. This variation in date is due to the fact that date of Baisakhi is reckoned according to the Indian solar calendar and not the lunar calendar. It is also a day of thanksgiving to the mother earth for good harvest. To celebrate Vaisakhi, Sikhs all over the world take part in a religious procession known as “Nagar Kirtan.  In Vancouver and Surrey, the procession is held during weekends (this year on 15th and 21st), as there is no public holiday for this day and weekend is the only time to celebrate here.




A celebration is never complete without a touch of sweetness. In keeping with the tradition I bring you a rice pudding. In India we make two variations of rice puddings. Both start from raw rice, which cook in milk, and turn into a pudding. However, one is called “Kheer” which is heavy and creamy. The other one is called “Phirni” which is lighter and smoother in texture.  Also, kheer can be served hot or cold, but phirni is always served chilled. Since I already posted the Kheer recipe, I decided to share the traditional “Rose scented Phirni” recipe with you today.



I have a preference for phirni. The origins of it are said to be somewhere in Persia or the Middle east but has gained popularity across the country. Its light texture, milky whiteness and the bright green color of the pistachio topping make it a very pretty-looking dessert. Then there is the scent of rose water and cardamom and, sometimes saffron.  A well-made Phirni  should be creamy without being too sweet and showcase the flavors used. Traditionally, Phirni is plain and garnished with chopped/ slivered almonds or pistachios, and served in clay bowls, called ‘kulhars’. It gets magically infused with the earthy sweetness which in my opinion is unmatched. But since I don’t have clay bowls I served them into small glass bowls.



Phirni (Rose Scented Rice pudding)

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Light and creamy rice pudding flavored with just the right amount of cardamom and rosewater. The origins of it are said to be somewhere in Persia or the Middle East, but has gained popularity across the country.


  • 1/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom seeds, finely ground
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • Slivered pistachios


  1. Wash and soak the rice in water for about 1 hour.
  2. Drain water from rice and grind to a slightly coarse paste with a little water.
  3. Heat milk in a thick bottom pan or pot. Bring it to boil and reduce temperature once milk starts bubbling.
  4. Add the rice paste. Mix it well.
  5. Cook on medium low heat, stirring intermittently, for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add sugar and cardamom powder. Keep cooking till the rice is completely cooked and the mixture starts thickening like custard (at this point you need to stir continuously)
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down a little. Add rose water and stir it every once in a while preventing it from forming a thick layer on top.
  8. Once the pudding has cooled down a little but is still warm, transfer it to serving bowls and let it chill.
  9. Once the phirni is chilled garnish with slivered pistachios.


This post is part of Tasty Tuesdays.

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  • comment-avatar
    Shana April 11, 2017 (5:24 am)

    An informative post.. Balvinder, and I have been missing my mas phirni.. I think I will try this one . 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Angie@Angie's Recipes April 11, 2017 (5:59 am)

    Very creamy and tender…a delightful dessert, Balvinder.

  • comment-avatar
    Shubha April 12, 2017 (10:35 am)

    Phirni is one of my fav desserts.. you have made it perfectly.. loved it:)

  • comment-avatar
    allie April 12, 2017 (4:28 pm)

    Hi Balvinder – the texture of this pudding looks just perfect, I love the cardamom and rosewater. Also enjoyed learning all about Vaisakhi, thank you!

  • comment-avatar
    Juliana April 13, 2017 (10:43 am)

    I love rice pudding, and yes, the idea of adding cardamon and rose water is very enticing…thanks for the recipe Balvinder!
    I hope you are enjoying your week 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Ansh April 13, 2017 (11:10 pm)

    I love keer but I like this idea of making it into a phirni better!! Great looking dish. the texture is just mouth watering.

  • comment-avatar
    Monica April 14, 2017 (1:10 am)

    Always learning something from you! Thank you. I love how important sweets are and how they feature in holiday celebrations. Sounds like a very special pudding.

  • comment-avatar
    puja April 15, 2017 (2:29 am)

    Mmm…this sounds delicious Balvinder. This is one of my favorite recipes. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    cakespy April 19, 2017 (5:03 am)

    This sounds absolutely delicious! I love learning about different variations on dishes from around the world. Love the idea of the gentle rose flavor.

  • comment-avatar
    All That I'm Eating April 21, 2017 (3:40 am)

    This looks so light and delicate, I’d really like to try this.

  • comment-avatar
    Shirley Tay (Blackswan) April 24, 2017 (4:23 am)

    I love scented foodstuff like these, dear! xoxo

  • comment-avatar
    Marie K. Powell April 25, 2017 (3:48 am)

    Looks delicious. loved the idea of adding cardamom and rosewater.
    Good job.