Sticky Rice Phirni

A dessert that is delicious and easy to make is phirni. It’s ground rice flour cooked with milk to which dried fruits are added. Generally the rice that is used for making phirni is basmati rice. I made my variation with fragrant sticky rice. And to stick (no pun intended) with that fragrance I added Indian bay leaves, which came all the way from my mother’s garden.No other flavours went into this phirni.

This recipe is for 6-8 servings.
4 tbs rice, soaked in water till soft
1 litre milk
300 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
2 cardamom pods, crushed
A handful of raisins
2 tbs ghee
A handful of cashew nuts
5-6 Indian bay leaves
Rose petals, optional

Grind the rice after soaking for about 30-40 minutes.
Heat the milk on medium heat till it becomes thick and is reduced. Add the crushed cardamoms.
Wash the raisins, pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Heat the ghee in a separate pan and toss in the cashew nuts. Fry till they turn golden brown. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, add the raisins and turn off  the gas. Raisins burn easily so it’s best to turn off the heat. They will puff up and change colour. Add them to the milk along with the bit of ghee left in the pan.
Throw in the bay leaves after bruising them a little.
Stir the milk. Add the ground rice and stir at regular intervals ensuring that it does not catch at the bottom.
Add the condensed milk, stir well. It will soon become thicker. Switch off the gas.
Let the phirni cool down. Chill it for an hour or so. Serve in individual bowls with a scattering of the fried cashew nuts.
Decorate with rose petals.

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