Kesari Phirni

It is the festive season in India, culminating in the celebration of lights. There are fewer times in an year when there is so much collective happiness around in India. Everyone is praying for peace and prosperity. It's just so much fun as well with the sweets and the socializing. 

And...with M's birthday falling in the middle of festivals this year, N did something rather unique and decided to surprise him by a traditional dessert rather than baking a cake. Difficult to describe in words how happy M was relishing his all time favorite Indian sweet. It is pure luck to have a great cook in the house !


1 litre full cream milk
1/4 cup basmati rice
20- 25 strands of saffron
12 - 15 Pistachios - finely sliced
3/4 cup sugar
8 - 10 cardamom - finely powdered
Earthen pots - This really is the essence of this dish and a core part of the recipe. To get the true flavours and consistency of the phirni, make sure you are using these


1. Rinse water 2 -3 times and soak in excess water for 20 - 30 mins.

2. Bring milk to boil in a heavy bottom pan. Take 1 tbsp of hot milk in a bowl and add saffron to it.

3. Drain rice and grind it to paste. It will resemble semolina.

4. Mix ground rice well in hot milk. You may take some milk in bowl and make a consistent paste by mixing ground rice and then adding it back to the milk to avoid any lumps.

5. Now let the milk simmer for 40 - 50 mins on slow till it achieves desired consistency. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid its lump formation

6. Add saffron milk, sugar and cardamom powder to it and stir for another 5 mins.

7. Transfer it to earthen pots (known as "shikoras") and garnish with saffron and pistachios.

8. Keep it in fridge for atleast 1 hour and serve cold.


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About the Authors

This blog is from the kitchen of Neha Gupta and Mridul Karkara. We go about our days pretending to be HR Managers and Business Consultants respectively, though in reality, just thinking about our next big meal! This food blog is a representation of our experiments in the kitchen and for the simple joy of cooking and sharing!

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