Summers along with humid and sticky wave leftover by rains is still settling in and by the looks of it , it seems that its going to stay here for a while 🙂 However the rains (or sawan) has got lot of good things too like this festive month of August. So during this period we are on a mission to prepare certain cuisines that not only taste good but also helps the body to beat the heat 🙂 One of such dessert that acts as a soothing agent after a heavy lunch is called Firni ( Rice Pudding) . It may have originated from the Middle East but now days it has become a delicacy in the South Asia particularly in India and Pakistan. The key point in preparation is that it must be refrigerated and then eaten. Hope you like this dessert as a finale at the end of a sumptuous meal.
Foodies but today there’s a special reason to share this amazing dessert with you all. In fact two very special festive reasons 🙂 The outbreak of the monsoons gets this popularly known ‘Sawan Festival’ – Teej 🙂 as well as the ‘festival of breaking of the fast’ – Eid 🙂
Teej festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by the women in India 🙂 Festival of Teej is dedicated to the divine couple – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
It is celebrated with extreme joy and craze at my place. It reminds me of my very own first Teej after wedding. In my family there’s a custom of celebrating first Teej of newly wedded girls on a big scale. It takes me three years back wherein my mother in law ordered special flower ornaments for me. I got all decked up in a special ethnic wear my mom in law got me 🙂 Finding me all decked up in flowers ornaments and ethnic wear I received so many compliments. But of course the best and touching one was from my better half 🙂 Parul was over to my place to celebrate my first Teej. Seeing me all dressed up she hugged me tight whispering in my ears “ you look so beautiful, in fact as pretty as your wedding day 🙂 I wish I knew how to whistle “ 🙂 We both burst out laughing.
The Teej celebrations at my house began with certain rituals and customs. Most of the Women at my house including me observed Teej fast in which there was no scope for even a sip of water. The fast is part of the belief that the invocation of Parvati’s blessings on this day results in continued marital bliss. I had all the reasons to get my hubbys attention 🙂 Was quite pampered the whole day 🙂 Oh..what a feeling it was 🙂 Also it is considered very auspicious for married and engaged women to receive Teej gifts from their parents-in-law and to be parents-in-law. The must among all the gifts is ‘Shrinjhara’ (a gift pack) which consists of henna, lac bangles, a special laheria dress and ghewar (a sweet dish). So I was in for an amazing list for gifts I received from not only my in laws but guests too 🙂 We women so love receiving gifts, don’t we 😉
The evening was then followed by a lavish dinner which included wide variety of festive delicacies 🙂 Among other things best was my foodie Parul’s reaction looking at the big bowl of aromatic firni speckled with green and white nuts. It’s her top favourite. Mine too!!! She just wanted to skip food and dive into it right away 🙂 She looked so cute. But we waited and waited till all the ceremonies and dinner was over. Finally when we did get to have this Parul was totally floored, needless to say Firni was the star of the evening for Parul of course after me 😉 … it tasted divine. It was a perfect ending to the more than perfect eve. The day was just so beautiful 🙂
Foodies talking of Eid al-Fitr (“festival of breaking of the fast”), also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm ) It is an Arabic word for fasting which means to abstain from eating and drinking (including water) during daylight hours). The word fasting makes me sooo hungry 🙂 lol 🙂 The Eid holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for Eid however varies based on the observation of new moon by religious authorities.
So Foodies Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan. This joyous day is celebrated to give thanks for the blessings of Ramadan. Everyone attends the congregational Eid prayer service which is held in the morning, wear new clothing, cook delicious food and invite friends and neighbors to celebrate with them. Fasting during Ramadan inspires sympathy for the hungry and needy, and encourages to donate generously to the poor.
So foodies looking at the weather and this festive fusion of Teej and Eid, festive Firni was our obvious choice. Also enjoying this festive mode we chose to be a bit quick in our culinary creation which was super quick and yet leaving you satiating and asking for more servings 🙂
Firni is part-and-parcel of festivities in northern India. It is traditional rice custard made with rich, creamy milk and served in earthenware, which makes it all the more pleasing to the palate. Although it takes time to make firni, it can be cooked in advance. You can also speed up the process a bit by using a broad-bottomed non-stick pan, so that the milk thickens faster.
The Consistency of Firni varies from thick- where one has to really scoop out with a spoon to creamy -where it will gently coat a spoon. Traditionally in India Firni is served Chilled in Earthenware/Clay cups called Matkas. It tastes better when the flavours are allowed to mature for 6-7 hours or even for a day. Some versions of Firni are baked in the cups after they are cooked, then chilled & served.
This dish probably would have been an influence of the Mughal invasions to India. Along with them came the rich fragrant food and thereafter mingled & planted their roots the Indian cuisine to form a part of it. Similar kind of Rice Pudding desserts, with little variations are also a part of Turkish, Lebanese, Greece, Afghan, African & many other European & Mediterranean cuisines.
Kheer (Nepali/Indian/Pakistani) with slow-boiled milk
Payasam (South Indian) with slow-boiled milk, sugar/jaggery and lots of nuts
Firni (Tajik) and (Pakistani/North Indian) with broken rice, cardamom and pistachio served cold.
When it comes to Traditional Indian desserts, nothing can beat Firni.. A thick creamy milk pudding flavoured with cardamom and saffron. Soaked and ground Basmati rice is added to the milk and cooked on low flame stirring continuously until it thickens. A pinch of saffron is used to give the wonderful flavour and colour to the dish. While the Firni was cooking, our kitchen was filled with the sweet aroma of this amazing spice.
So Foodies today’s recipe is simple Firni presented in earthenware in which it is enjoyed the most 🙂 Though it comes with a caution: “ Likely to be emptied instantly on arrival.” 🙂 Hence, Firni is to be prepared in generous quantity so that all guests and hosts alike could have to their heart’s fill. And don’t be surprised if your guests ask for refill for this sweet even before finishing half way with the apprehension that others might take away your share. So it’s the culmination of a great meal with a high.
So friends pamper your sweet tooth with this delicious dessert on the auspicious occasion of Teej and Eid Festival. Serve warm or cold. Fresh milk, rice and nuts are considered ‘sattvic’ foods in Ayurveda. Sattvic foods help balance one’s doshas (subtle energies), nourish the body, the mind and ultimately, pave the way for one’s spiritual evolution.
We are so desperate to share this yummy dessert recipe with you all…So here it comes..
Foodies though our recipe should be enough for serving 4 to 5 but not so sure as I mentioned that this super delicious sweet dish comes with a caution: “ Likely to be emptied instantly on arrival.” 🙂 lol 🙂
This rich and delicious Firni is sure to win your hearts too like ours 🙂 So give it a try.
Happy Teej & Eid Mubarak 🙂
Parul n Sakshi