Thandai Makhana Phirni
THEME: #237 HOLI ON MY PLATE
RECIPE: THANDAI MAKHANA PHIRNI
What is Thandai Makhana Phirni?
Thandai Makhana Phirni is a creamy, delish, cool Indian dessert that can be served during the Festival of Colour, Holi. However, having said that, one can enjoy this easy to make and delectable dessert any time of the year. Thandai is a powder or spice mixture of nuts, seeds, spices and rose petals. Makhana is is fox nut which are roasted till they become crunchy and then crushed. Traditionally, phirni is a rice pudding made from coarse rice powder. Here, I have replaced the rice powder with makhana of fox nut powder.
What is Holi?
Like most festivals in India, Holi, the festival of colours celebrates good over evil like other Indian festivals. Also marks the beginning of spring. There are other reasons that Holi is celebrated. To read the traditional story as to why Holi is celebrated, click here. Nowadays, celebrations are more as fun festival rather than the religious implication. How did colours become such an intrical part of Holi Celebrations? It is believed that the use of colour was started by Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna and Holi
When the mischievous and playful Lord Krishna was young, he was very jealous of Radha’s very fair complexion as he was very dark. Complaining to his mother Yashoda, to pacify him she suggested that he colours her face with whichever colour he likes. As a result Lord Krishna went and applied colour to Radha and the other Gopis (cowherd girls).This lovable prank of Krishna applying colours with water jets (pichkari) gain popularity over time.
Usually the colour powders use these days for Holi right from white to purple are usually made from rice or corn flour in which food colours are added to get the correct colour. Though not harmful as such, it may cause allergic reaction on the skin for those who may be allergic to food colours. It also can cause eye infection and irritation. It may also cause lung and throat irritations. Traditionally only Gulal and Abhir powders were used. Following the trend to create unusual shades of colours, manufacturers may not follow the strict regulations and include colours like malachite green, gentian violet, rhodamine which are believed to be carcinogenic. Some powders may have lead oxide, copper sulphate, mercury sulphite and mold which all are very harmful to the body.
Play a Safe Holi
- Use safe natural colours and apply colour to friends and families in such way that it doesn’t get into the eyes, mouth, nose, ears etc.
- Use colorful flower petals instead of colour powders if they are not organic.
- Avoid water balloons as they tend to cause bruises and may injure people.
- Don’t waste water. Water is becoming a scarce world over and we really cannot afford to waste it.
- Applying a small patch of colour to friends and family members on the cheeks is enough for an eco friendly Holi. Apply tilak to those who are older to you.
Holi and Feasting
Whenever there’s a festival to celebrate good food is vital. People get together and not only enjoy the colorful mood, music and gaiety but having food together is a part of the celebration. I feel that no Holi festival is complete without Thandai. These days many thandai based food are made right for cakes, cookies to desserts. While there are no strict rules as what should be made and what should not, some of the more famous dishes are:
Thandai Milk is a must for most
Malpua is another famous sweet dish prepared during Holi
Some parts of India, Gujiyas are a must
Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is another famous dish
Kachoris, nice flaky moong filled ones the way Renu makes
For the 237th theme, FoodieMonday/Bloghop group decided unanimously to have Holi on my plate as the theme with the festivities happening today and tomorrow. I decided to make a thandai flavored makhana phirni.
What is Phirni?
Originally, Phirni is like a rice pudding or kheer. However, for phirni coarsely ground rice is used. This makes the phirni much thicker than a rice pudding when it sets and is usually enjoyed chilled unlike kheer which can either hot or chilled. Also other grains like semolina, brown rice, black rice, little millet, etc replace the rice to make different kinds of phirni. This time I decided to use makhana which is roasted and then ground to a coarse powder.
Ingredients Required for Thandai Makhana Phirni
- Makhana also known as fox nut or gorgon nut or Euryale Ferox which is actually seeds of the lotus flower.
- Milk, whereby I’ve used dairy full fat milk but you can replace with any nut milk.
- Sugar of which I used normal sugar but you can replace it with coconut sugar, brown sugar, jaggery powder, honey, maple syrup of even stevia.
- Thandai powder, which can be replaced by cinnamon, cardamon or saffron alone. Can also replace with flavoring like vanilla or spice mixtures like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. Find the recipe for homemade thandai powder here.
- Saffron – optional as I love using saffron for desserts.
- Topping can your choice. Here I’ve used dried fruit and nuts. You can use fresh fruits.
- Gluten free
- For vegan version you can replace dairy milk with a nut milk
- Satvik friendly
- Ideal for fasting days like Navratri and Ekadashi
THANDAI MAKHANA PHIRNI
- 2 cups makhana fox nuts
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 litre full fat milk
- 2-3 tbsp thandai spice powder
- 5-6 strands of saffron
- Dried fruits/chopped nuts/choco chips
- Heat ghee in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add makhana and keep on stirring them frequently till they become crunchy.
- Let the roasted makhana cool down.
- Put the makhana in a zip lock bag.
- Using a rolling pin, crush the makhana.
- Crush the makhana into a coarse powder.
- Keep it on the side till required.
- Heat milk over medium to low heat and let it simmer till only half the quantity is left.
- Add saffron and the crushed makhana.
- Keep stirring the mixture till it becomes thick, like the consistency of pouring custard.
- Add sugar and thandai spice powder. Mix well.
- Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes more.
- Pour the phirni mixture into serving bowls or glasses.
- Let it cool at room temperature.
- Cover the bowls or glasses with lids or cling film.
- Put it in the refrigerator to set overnight or for 5-6 hours.
- Add the topping.
- Serve this delicious treat for your party as a dessert.
- Make sure all the makhana are crushed into small pieces.
- Replace the sugar with a sweetener of your choice like coconut sugar, honey, jaggery, maple syrup or stevia.
- Add topping of your choice.
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