Apr 13

Phirni and Kheer Recipe

Most of us who know Indian cuisine have heard about Kheer. This is an Indian dessert pudding  that is made using milk and rice. It is a very popular dessert and is available in most Indian restaurants. It is an important part of a lot of Indian festivals and occasions. It is also an important part of Muslim weddings and festivals. A variant of kheer is phirni. Phirni is a North Indian dessert that is very similar to kheer. The difference is that phirni is made using ground rice while kheer is made using whole basmati rice. Also, kheer can be served hot or cold, but phirni is always served chilled. It is also called payasam in south India.

Both have a similar taste, but the texture is very different since the rice is ground in phirni. Also, the cooking time varies. The ground rice in phirni cooks much faster than the whole rice in kheer. Some people also make kheer with vermicelli (sevian) instead of rice.

Traditionally, phirni is served in small earthenware pots called matkas. This is because the phirni is served chilled and the earthenware adds sweetness to the dish. Originally, there were no refrigerators and the phirni was chilled by putting the phirni in wet matkas and leaving them in the sun. The heat from the sun would evaporate the water on the outside of the matka and this evaporation chills the contents inside.

Below, I have provided the recipe for both kheer and phirni. The kheer recipe is for the stove top and the phirni recipe is for the microwave. Kheer is also great in the slow cooker. Just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir it once or twice and it should be ready in about 4 hours. Personally, I like the texture of the kheer and getting the rice grains in my mouth. Try them out and let me know which you prefer. Leave a comment below.

Rice Pudding

Kheer Recipe


1/4 cup rice

4 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

Few strands of saffron (about 6-7 should be sufficient)

2 crushed cardamom

2 tbsp sliced almonds


Wash the rice thoroughly till the water runs clear. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add the rice, milk and sugar. Stir at regular intervals to prevent the milk from burning. Cook until rice is tender and milk is reduced to about half. Add the saffron, cardamom, almonds and let simmer for a few more minutes. Allow the kheer to cool. As it cools, it will get thicker. Serve hot or chilled, as per preference.

Phirni Recipe


3 cups milk

3 tbsp.  rice

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp sliced almonds

3/4 tsp. cardamom powdered

1/4 tsp. saffron


Wash the rice thoroughly till the water runs clear, and soak in water for 2 hours. After soaking, grind to a fine paste in the food processor. Soak the saffron n half cup warm milk.

Boil the milk along with the sugar, cardamom and saffron on the stove top. Transfer contents to a microwave safe bowl and stir in the rice paste. Microwave on high for 2 minutes or till the milk starts boiling again. Then microwave on medium for 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. Stir in the almonds. Garnish with a few almonds and allow it to cool. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. You can add other nuts if you choose.

The recipes I have provided above are the basic kheer and phirni without any extra ingredients. If you are in the mood to experiment, or looking for something different, these desserts can be flavored with different ingredients such as dates, rose water, peach and even pomegranate. The possibilities are endless. If you are looking for a creamy texture, consider adding a bit of heavy cream. A lot of nuts can also be added such as raisins, pistachios, cashews, etc.

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