India’s sweet affair is no stranger to us. One of the oldest desserts like malpua to rich and decadent halwas, our country has left no stone unturned to satiate the sweet tooth. No wonder we have a fusion of Indo-Western flavours in our desserts too, in the form of gulab jamun cheesecake, motichoor ladoo parfait and what not. From light and mildly sweet to the thick ones, drenched in sugar or chashni, there is no dearth of options when it comes to mithais. A couple of them may not have originated on our soil but have definitely become a favourite since they arrived. Jalebi and gulab jamun are a case in point. 

Recently, Jamie Lever took to her Instagram stories to share an image of a classic Indian sweet treat which is again not from India. Johny Lever’s daughter was seen enjoying a matka of phirni and it looked absolutely tempting. Captioned as, “Bhai Wah!” (wow man!), she expresses her delight at the taste of the sweet meat. Garnished with chopped pistachios and nuts, the light yellow-coloured dessert seems to be an appetizing bite. Wondering what it looks like? Here take a look. 

Source: Screengrab of Instagram Stories/Jamie Lever

 Phirni is another such sweet meat that finds its roots in Persia and the Middle-Eastern region. Legend has it that the dish travelled to India through the Persians settlers and was popularized by the Mughals. For those untouched by the phenomenon, phirni is a creamy and sweet pudding that is made from rice, milk and a whole lot of nuts. The idea of serving this classic dessert is believed to have been a Mughal tradition. 

Usually served cold, the phirni is referred to as fereni in Iran today. In India, you would often find people comparing phirni or rather, using it synonymously with kheer, another rice pudding from our country. However, it is only partially true. While the latter is made from whole basmati rice which is soft and succulent, phirni’s thick and creamy texture owes itself to the slow cooking process and the soaked and coarsely ground rice paste. Another difference lies in the serving method wherein kheer can be served both hot and cold, unlike phirni. 

With the tales of a rich and creamy phirni, let’s try making some at home too. Here are the recipes. 

1.  Mango Phirni 

Since summers are almost taking shape, it is time for the king of fruits i.e. mangoes. The utterly sweet fruit is not only flavourful but also very colourful. The bright orange colour lends a beautiful appearance to the phirni and makes it rich. 

2.  Gud Aur Badam Phirni 

Rich and full of natural flavour, this phirni is pure bliss. The nuttiness of almonds aka badam is balanced well by the sweetness of gud aka jaggery. Since jaggery has cooling properties, this is an ideal summer dessert.