Makar Sankranti: Move Over Kheer, Glam Up Your Festive Spread With This Saffron-Rose Phirni

It has been a tough couple of years. We have been home for close to two years, and the virus is far from leaving us so soon. They say you need to learn to live with the new normal, and we try. But things begin to complicate when it is time for festivals. We are a country known for its large-scale festivals, and plenty of them at that. This is time, when the country is gearing up for a couple like Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Bihu. All of these are harvest festivals, celebrating sun’s movement in Northern equinox, marking the end of gloomy winters. Makar Sankranti has many rituals that require you to be out and about. From taking a dip in the Ganges to gathering in terraces for kite-flying competitions, but now that Omicron has put a damper in all our big plans, should we just sit home and not move a muscle. Well, for our own good, we should try to stay indoors and minimize social interactions, but sulk we shall not. There’s plenty in your kitchen that can still spark joy, and hasn’t a big part of Sankranti memories revolved around its traditional delicacies like tilgul laddoo, patishapta, rewri, popcorn, puran poli etc?  

Now is the time to don that chef hat, if not so much for your cravings, but for the sake of your festive spirit. And it is okay, if you do not want to stick to the traditional favourites. You can jazz up the affair with some more colours and quirk. Take for instance, this saffron-rise phirni. Now, when you think of any Indian festival, you cannot rule out the omnipresent kheer, but if you really want to push the envelope, you can definitely try this exquisite recipe from chef Rajesh of Taj Mahal Hotel.  

It is traditional, but with a tinge of modern. Phirni is a milk pudding just like kheer, but it is made with broken rice and the consistency of the pudding is also very thick and creamy.  

The rose petals truly bring the Phirni alive and make it so gram-worthy. Have a look


  • 2 tbsp. basmati rice
  • Water for soaking
  • 1 litre milk, full cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp. saffron milk
  • Few dry fruits, chopped
  • 15 dry rose petals


1. Soak 2 tbsp basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. 

2. Drain water, blend rice in coarse paste. Keep aside.

3. Take a large kadhai, boil 1 l milk. 

4. Make sure you stir occasionally and simmer for 10 minutes

5. Let milk thicken, keep flame on low. 

6. Add rice paste you kept aside.

7. Keep stirring for 5 minutes, continuously, to prevent lump formation.

8. Simmer for another 5 minutes, keep stirring in between.

9. Boil milk till the rice is completely cooked. 

10. Add sugar and saffron milk. Mix till the milk is thick and creamy.

11. Add cardamom powder, rose petals and mix, mix, mix. 

12. Let it come to room temperature, then chill.

13. Serve chilled phirni with the garnish of few chopped nuts and rose petals.