We usually celebrate every success, small or big, our children has. Such celebrations boost their confidence.
We motivate our son to work hard. There is no alternative to diligence. We parents want our kids to shine, to succeed and be happy. These they achieve through right efforts. Children need to work smart too. Here, teachers and parents have an important role to play.
Nurturing, inspiring, motivating – these are lifelong passions of most parents.
Our son participated in a speech competition and after winning the 1st place in the school, he was sent to participate in London’s International Youth Speech contest. Many children from different schools participated in it. Children and parents prepared for this event for the past three months. I was looking around the hall. Few kids were rehearsing their long speeches. Excited parents were accompanying children. The entire atmosphere was charged.
The award ceremony followed. Names of the winners were announced. The third place and runners-up were all smiles. The expectation and tension of other participants were palpable. Who would bag the top spot? And when our son’s name was announced, we were jubilant. He received the award amidst loud applause.
At home, we celebrate success by preparing a special cuisine. I guess most Indians follow this custom. His father gifted him two story books. He was all smiles. He loves books. I prepared his favourite dish, Phirni.
What is Phirni?
The history and origin of Phirni is unknown. It is believed that it originated during the Mughal Empire in India. It has evolved since then. Phirni is a creamy rice-based dessert. It’s very easy to make. It is made from whole rice. Usually coarsely ground basmati rice is preferred. It is flavoured with saffron, cardamom and beautifully garnished with nuts and dry fruits. There are various types of Phirni, like Mango Phirni, Rose Phirni, Almond Phirni and so on. Here, I am presenting a very basic Phirni preparation.
Traditionally Phirni is served chilled, in an earthen bowl or clay cup. The earthen bowl gives it a pretty look. It also tastes better because of its typical sondha (the smell of earth after first rain) flavour. Garnishing plays a very important role. It is usually eaten with dessert spoon or traditional wooden spoon.
Phirni should have thick pouring consistency, like custard. Neither too runny nor too thick.
It is a healthy, milk based dish. Rice gives nutritional value to the dish and nuts are full of vitamins, proteins and minerals. Only the sugar is the villain here. Diabetic patients and obese people need to be careful.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Milk: One litre (I prefer full cream milk)
Basmati Rice: 1/4th cup
Sugar: One cup
Cardamoms: Six (6)
Wash and soak the rice in water for an hour.
Drain the water from the rice and let it dry on a piece of cloth or on a dry plate for an hour or two.
Once the rice dries up completely, transfer it to the grinder and grind them till it gets semolina texture but not like sugar.
Place a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat and boil milk till it reduced to half of its original volume.
Now, add rice powder to the boiling milk and stir it continuously to avoid any lumps. Let it cook for nearly 10 minutes on low heat.
Stirring continuously is mandatory so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Check whether the rice is cooked or not.
This is the time to add sugar and crushed cardamoms and mix well till the point sugar gets dissolved. Turn off the heat.
Decorate the Phirni in a serving bowl and garnish it with dry fruits and saffron strands (optional)
Refrigerate it for three to four hours or let it settle down overnight (a much better option) and serve cool with more nuts.
Enjoy delicious Phirni with family and friends.
Text and pix by author
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