rose & cardamom firni
If you haven't tasted Firni, you're in for a treat. It's the refined cousin of rice pudding and makes appearances at weddings, Eid and other special celebrations - often anointed with saffron and rosewater, sometimes dressed in silver leaf and bejewelled with pearly almonds and emerald pistachios. Firni is always served chilled and set in individual portions, far too special to share a dish!
My version is infused with cardamom and a kiss of rosewater. I just love this combination of earthy warm and floral in Asian/middle Eastern sweets. Firni really does bring the humble rice pudding to centre stage with it's extremely simple yet elegant flavours. Because it's made from milk and not cream, it's also surprisingly light. If you want to serve it for dinner, make sure to make it very early that day or even the night before so that it has time to set and is cool.
Ingredients (serves 8)
I ¼ litres full fat milk
60g ground rice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp rosewater 2 tbs flaked almonds for garnish
Gently rinse the ground rice in a bowl and set aside. The best way to do this is to add cold water, stir with a spoon and let the rice settle. Then carefully tip out water and repeat.
In a large pan bring milk to the boil with the crushed cardamom seeds.
Reduce heat to a very low flame and add the ground rice and sugar and stir continuously so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 20 minutes the mixture should thicken to the consistency of custard. At this point add the rosewater.
With a ladle scoop the mixture into small bowls/dishes and leave to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes before transferring to the fridge. Chill for at least 2-3 hours. Garnish with flakes of toasted almonds and a few cardamom pods.