What? Traditional Pinni Made It To France During World War 1?

Whenever we think of Winters or especially Winters in North India, one thought that comes to mind is having delicious and healthy Pinnis. Pinnis is one of the most loved snack or dessert people have in Punjab during winter. Pinnis being made of wheat flour, ghee, nuts, and sugar help the body in staying warm and their nutritional value keeps diseases at bay. Pinni was made traditionally in villages but even today, some households do have this Pinni ready every winter season. It is believed that one Pinni with a glass of milk can keep your stomach full for 4 to 5 hours.

But do you know an interesting fact about Pinnis? This traditional Indian sweet, in bulk, was sent all the way to France by the British during World War 1. It is believed that around 1.5 million Indian soldiers were fighting in the trenches of Belgium and France during World War 1. They were being looked after by a London-based committee. The Indian soldiers were home-sick for many reasons and one of them was not being able to have Pinnis.

Some soldiers from the Sikh community, during Winters in Europe, wrote a letter to the Government demanding to be served Pinni rather than English dessert as it was not a good substitute. The committee, which was then looking after the comfort of the Soldiers, decided to boost their morale and provide them with what they wanted. The committee then ordered two batches of Pinni from India but they weren’t able to continue this import due to the high cost of the ingredients used in making Pinnis. They then decided to have a chef from India make this sweet for the soldiers but that too didn’t work in the longer run.

Committee attempted to cook Kheer and Sewai but this plan failed as they couldn’t cook the Kheer as the Indians do. Eventually, the Indian Soldiers were left with no other option instead of getting familiar with the English sweets served to them. We can feel why the Soldiers used to crave Pinnis. Right?

Let us give you a quick recap of how to make these Pinnis


  •      500 gm Wheat Flour
  •      350 gm Ghee
  •      15 gm of chopped Almond, Cashew, Raisins, and Makhana (Fox nuts) (More nuts could be added as per choice)
  •      10 gm Shredded Coconut
  •      15 gm Gond (Edible Gum)
  •      150 gm Sugar


  •      Add 350 gm of Ghee and in a heavy bottomed pan
  •      Add 500 gm of Wheat flour
  •      Mix to combine the Wheat flour on medium-low flame.
  •      Cook for 8 to 10 mins. Keep stirring otherwise it will burn. 
  •      After the mixture starts to darken, remove it from the flame.
  •      Take another pan, add nuts (chopped almonds, chopped Makhana, and Gond) as per taste
  •      Stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
  •      Add the nuts into the Wheat flour mixture and stir well.
  •      Add the shredded coconut.
  •      Grind sugar (as per taste) and add it to the mixture.
  •      After the mixture comes together, make round balls.
  •      Repeat the process with the entire mixture and the Pinnis are ready.

Important Tip: Always use good quality Ghee as the taste of Pinnis entirely depend upon the Ghee.