- Soak rice in water in a bowl for 15 minutes. Rinse the rice with water till the water is clear.
- Drain out water completely from the rice. Grind the rice to a coarse powder.
- Soak saffron strands in 2 tsp milk for 10 minutes.
- Boil milk in a thick-bottomed pan. Reduce flame, and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring in between.
- Add the rice powder to the milk. Continue cooking on low flame for 10 minutes, stirring in between. Add sugar and stir. Sprinkle cardamom powder and pistachios.
- Add saffron milk to the pan. Remove from the flame and pour phirni in individual serving bowls. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of each bowl of phirni.
- Cool in a refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve chilled.
The Persians are credited with introducing phirni in India. Various variations of this dish called ‘Shola’ are cooked in the Middle East, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Mongolians introduced shola to Persia. It is still cooked in Iran and Afghanistan as a part of traditional thanksgiving or pledge.
In China too, a version of phirni is made. It is called “The eight jewel rice pudding”. When rice traveled to Europe from India, it took an important place in their cuisine also. A baked version of rice pudding is present in the European cuisine. In fact, it was a staple part of the diet during the Shakespearean era.