If dessert is the best way to end a meal, Phirni is the only way to do it. Great for parties and get-togethers, this dish is a total crowd-pleaser. The soft texture of the delicacy simply melts into the mouth and brings on a smile on every food lover’s face.

It’s the taste and ingredients of the silky dessert that makes it oh-so-special. The dish is prepared with condensed milk, which is flavoured with rose water, kewra essence, dry fruits, saffron, pistachios, and cardamom, almonds, cashews, and raisins garnished on top. Check out a basic recipe here.

Phirni is essentially a rice-milk dessert, so inevitably every culture has its own rendition. Europe has rice pudding, the Middle East has Shola, India has Phirni and other parts of Asia call it Sheer Bhinj.

But how did it make it to India? 

Well, the Mughals, of course. In medieval times, the Mughals originally from Persia brought with them their culture and traditions and with that came this delicious dessert. Preparing it in an earthen pot is a rich part of the Mughal legacy. There are many legends surrounding its genesis, but a famous one is that it was first offered to Prophet Muhammad when he climbed to the seventh floor of heaven to meet God. 

People often confuse Kheer with Phirni, but these are not the same. There are different versions of milk pudding with milk, sugar, spices and rice being the common ingredients. The texture and consistency make the desserts quite different, phirni is creamier and thicker and kheer is more liquid-y.

Try making your own this weekend and enjoy the regally of this dessert.