Phirni And Kheer Make It To 10 Best Puddings In The World List
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The fact that Indian cuisine has immense variety and nuance, whether it comes to savoury dishes or sweet ones, is now being recognised globally. This is especially evident not only by the increasing global popularity of Indian cuisine, but also by the frequent lists that Croatia-based food guide, Taste Atlas shares. This is further proved by the fact that two Indian desserts enjoyed by millions have now made it to their list of 10 Best Puddings in the World. 

While the Iranian Sholeh Zard, a saffron-flavoured rice pudding, made it to the top of the list with a rating of 4.5, India’s Phirni and Kheer edged out plenty of competition to make it to the list. Phirni, with a rating of 4.4, ranked at No.7, while Kheer got a rating of 4.2 and ranked at No.10. In fact, Phirni managed to score higher than the famous Italian Panna Cotta in terms of both ratings and ranking! A moment of pride indeed. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Hebbars Kitchen

For those unaware, both Phirni and Kheer are rice-based puddings prepared across India. As Taste Atlas’ list reveals, Phirni is a dish popular in Punjab. However, what the food guide missed out is that Phirni is believed to be a Persian-origin dessert that was brought to and popularised in India by the Mughal rulers. Phirni is now made across North India, with versions of the sweet dish prepared in Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (thanks to the legacy of Awadhi cuisine).  

Kheer, on the other hand, has ancient Indian origins and versions of this dish are made across the nation. Taste Atlas attributes Kheer to Odisha, but the fact is that while the sweet dish is indeed popular and ritually consumed here, it is also known by the name of Paayesh in West Bengal, Kheer in Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, and by the name of Payasam in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 

Further, while both Phirni and Kheer are rice-based Indian puddings or desserts, they are quite different in taste and texture. Phirni is usually made with pounded or coarsely ground rice and reduced milk, which gives it a thick, creamy and gluggy texture. Always made with sugar, Phirni retains the flavours of spices and other ingredients like saffron, cardamoms, fruits and nuts. Phirni is also usually chilled before eating and is served at the end of the meal.  

Kheer on the other hand is usually made with fragrant, short-grained rice varieties like Gobindobhog or Kaima rice and milk, and is often flavoured with jaggery varieties, fruits and dry fruits. More al dente and a bit thinner, Kheer is consumed not only when it is cold or at room temperature, but also when it is still fresh and warm. Further, Kheer is not only served at the end of meals, but often also served along with Puris in North India to create the winning combination of Kheer-Puri especially during festivals.