Mango Phirni – a magical fusion dessert

“Keep calm & eat Aam”

— Nobody

One may think that there is nothing much impressive about Indian summers. But beyond these hot,humid and scorching times, the subcontinent gets blessed with some beautiful rains. And if you are lucky enough to be in the rural parts of Gangetic plains or even in the southern parts of India during late summers and monsoon, you would hear some thuds on the ground amidst the musical pitter-patter of raindrops and the occasional rumbling of clouds.
I bet the intoxicating petrichor fused with the aroma of the king of fruits, can drive one crazy.
Yes.. Mango it is.
A fruit of this stature and personality deserves a standing ovation and a slightly longer introduction. 🙂

Mangoes don’t have many haters with its unique power to transform any dessert into a culinary work of art in addition to being enjoyed just like that or as pickles, shakes and aamras. Indian households are blessed with generations of tradition in making lip smacking desserts and sweets which has evolved over the years through fusion of varied cultures and food habits. One such beauty is ‘Phirni’ which had most probably evolved during the Mughal period and has since been a precious addition to the wide offering of Indian sweets and desserts.

The traditional Phirni is a form of rice pudding made with a coarse paste of basmati rice, cooked slowly over rich and creamy milk, mixed with a fragrance of rose water and dry fruits and served in traditional terracotta earthen pots. It’s neither meant to be too sweet nor too loud with its flavours. The subtle aroma of dry fruits and rose water mixed with rich and creamy rice pudding is sure to create magic in any taste bud, and it can assure a happy ending, specially to a mughlai meal.

And having spoken so much about the king of fruits, the guess is easy now…
Yes, it’s time to share a beautiful Indian secret, Mango Phirni, a wonderful variation where the traditional Phirni soaks itself in the flavours of the very generous “Aam” (Mango).

The Recipe

Mango Phirni needs very few ingredients to whip up the magic…

  • Full cream milk
  • Sweet ripe and fresh mangoes
  • Sugar
  • Green cardamom (elaichi) and
  • Some optional dry fruits like cashews, pistachio, and almonds.

However the real secret behind the perfect Phirni is the correct proportion of ingredients, patience and loads of love. Now let’s jump into the journey…

  • Take 4 tbsps of Basmati rice (around 50 gms) pand let it soak in a cup of water at room temperature for a minimum of 30 mins. Also soak about 4-5 cashews in water.
  • In the meantime gently cut 2 ripe mangoes and take the pulp out to make a nice puree by simply blending for a few seconds.
  • Take a small spoon of this puree and taste it to know the sweetness of the mangoes, which will be useful later.
  • Take 1 litre of Full cream milk and bring it to near boil temperatures in a thick bottomed cookware and keep stirring frequently. The secret behind any milk based dessert is to not let the cream separate and get lost in the sides of the vessel. You would want every bit of the cream to remain within the milk and frequent stirring ensures that.
  • While the milk is heating up, take the rice soaked in water and make a slurry paste of it using a blender. Don’t put all the water used to soak the rice. Just take as much as you need to make a slurry paste.
  • Add the rice paste to the milk while it’s about to boil, and keep stirring to avoid lumps. This is the time when you need patience and just like making kheer(payesh) you will be forced to think that the quantity of rice is too less for all the milk….but don’t make that mistake. Just let it cook, while you stir and wait for the magic to happen.
  • You would soon see the milk reducing in volume and getting thicker while the blended rice would grow in size and become visible as it gets cooked. At this stage add the mango puree, and mix it well.
  • You would see the beautiful yellow color, and now it’s time to add some coarsely ground cardamom seeds. Make a thick paste of the cashews soaked in water and add it as well.
  • It is also time to add the sugar, and the quantity of sugar would depend on the sweetness of the mangoes. Typically if the mangoes are decently sweet, you should not need more than 6-7 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Keep stirring till it reaches a decently thick consistency and you can see the rice particles across the mixture.
  • Turn the heat off, and gently pour the mixture on earthen pots, (if available) else simply use glass, or any suitable dessert bowls.
  • Let it settle for a while at room temperature and then refrigerate them for about 4 hours.

Moment of NirvaNA…

Garnish with chopped almonds, pistachios and mango slices (optional), serve and enjoy !!

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