Aren’t your fondest summer holiday memories in the growing up years associated with food somehow?
Mango is my favourite fruit and in India mangoes are in season from late March to June which is also their Summer season. They are usually highly priced when they hit the market and are sold by the dozen or by the Peti. The Basket is stuffed with hay to keep the mangoes fresh and maintain an optimum temperature for them to ripen. Mango Peti or Baskets are perfect gifts if one is visiting a friend or family member during the summer months.
Our Mums would usually wait till the 2nd week of April to bring home the tastiest Alphonso Mangoes. These are usually the second lot of Mangoes that hit the market and are apparently tastier. Obviously bargaining needs to be your best virtue while Mango shopping. I almost worshipped this fruit and really missed the Indian Alphonso Mango when I moved to Melbourne. Now nothing beats the Indian Alphonso but over the years I have really come to love the Australian Kensington Pride Mango followed closely by R2E2.
Mango is such a versatile fruit, it can be eaten by itself, or in a fruit salad or mixed with savoury salads, smoothies, drinks, deserts such as cakes, ice-creams and of course Indian Mithai and Aamras. Mango also freezes well or can be pureed and stored.
Australian Mango season is coming close to an end whereas Mangoes are back in season in India. It is at this time when I puree Mangoes and freeze them to be enjoyed over the next few months. Since I was relaunching the new look and feel of Mumbai 2 Melbourne it was only befitting that the first post back should be about celebrations, food, dessert and Mango of course.
Weekend was here and I wanted to treat my sweet tooth a little bit without going overboard. I had rice in the pantry and a couple of ripe mangoes in the fridge so I decided to make a traditional Indian Rice Pudding last Sunday and use the natural sugars in Mango to sweeten it.
So What is cooking at Mumbai 2 Melbourne !
Phirni or Firni is an Indian Rice pudding that is cooked with milk and sugar till it retains a thick and rich creamy consistency. Phirni was introduced to India by the Persian rulers and is a North Indian delicacy that is now loved across the length and breadth of the country. My Grandma (Aai) used to make Saffron Phirni at home and set it in earthen clay pots which was my first introduction to this delicious dessert. Phirni is also a popular dessert served at weddings and traditional ceremonies.
I have given this traditional recipe a fruity twist by adding fresh mango pulp to sweeten the Phirni. Here is Mumbai 2 Melbourne’s recipe for Mango Phirni or Mango Rice Pudding.
What are you going to need to make it?
♦ Basmati Rice – 2.5 tablespoons
♦ Milk- 750 ml
♦ Mango Puree- 350 ml- 400 ml
♦Sugar/ Sugar-free if needed – 2 tablespoons more or less depending on sweetness of mangoes
♦ Cardamon Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
♦ Powdered mixed nuts – 2 tablespoon
♦ Saffron Strands- 10 in number
♦ Rice flour – 1 tablespoon
Lets get Cooking !
♦Soak the rice in warm water for 2 hours. Discard most of the water and grind the rice to a granular paste. Do not grind to a fine paste or the Phirni will lack a creamy thickness and bite.
♦Take a saucepan and add the milk and let it simmer on a low flame. Keep stirring every couple of minutes to ensure it does not stick to the bottom. In about 12-15 minutes the milk should have reduced in quantity to about 500 ml.
♦Take a few spoons of warm milk in a bowl and add the Saffron strands to it and keep aside. Pulse a few pistachios and almonds in a food processor to a coarse powder. Add one tablespoon of this powder to the thickened milk.
♦I used 1 medium sized Kensington Mango which gave me about 400 ml of puree. I also chopped up another mango into small cubes which I added as a garnish. This is optional but I recommend it. You can also increase the quantity of Mango puree depending on your taste.
♦I added the ground rice to the thickened milk and mixed it well. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes. You will notice the rice granules getting soft and also thickening the mixture. Once rice granules are soft to touch add two tablespoons of sugar and mix well. If using Sugar-free just skip this step.
♦Add the rice flour to the saffron soaked milk. Mix well ensure there are no lumps. Now add this to the thickened milk and rice mixture. This particular step is important as it helps to thicken the Phirni to a perfect consistency also making it smoother and creamier.
♦Next switch off the flame and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Then add the mango puree. Mix well and ensure no lumps are formed. If using sugar free add two tablespoons of it at this stage. Mix well.
♦Immediately pour into serving bowls or glass bowls and cover with cling film and refrigerate them for 3-5 hours.
Garnish with remaining nut powder and cubed mango pieces. Your Mango Phirni or Mango Rice Pudding is ready to dig in.
The combination of saffron with the sweet flavours of mango and the creamy gooey texture of the ground rice make it a fantastic dessert. It is relatively easy to make with minimal ingredients needed.
Mango Phirni can be made a day in advance if you are entertaining guests. Perfect on its own or served with fresh Mango pieces. You can substitute sugar for either more mango puree or you could add Sugar free when you add the mango puree towards the end.
I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe for a fresh and delicious dessert. Mumbai 2 Melbourne is back with a new look and feel. Would love to hear your feedback about it in the comments below.
Until next time have a fabulous week ahead.