Thandai Makhana Phirni

March 9, 2020mayurisjikoni
Blog post




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.

Holi Celebrations

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

Various Chaats like Dahi Papdi Chaat or Pani Puri as Archana makes

Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is another famous dish

Kachoris, nice flaky moong filled ones the way Renu makes

Snacks like dhokla, gota, flaky farsi puri


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.

Dietary Tip:

  • 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 4

thandai makhana phirni 1

thandai makhana phirni 2

thandai makhana phirni 3


Thandai Makhana Phirni is a creamy, delish, cool Indian dessert that can be served during the Festival of Colour, Holi. Easy to make and light too.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes
Course Dessert, festival recipe, Mithai
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6


  • 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.
Keyword phirni recipe, thandai makhana phirni recipe


Pin for later:

thandai makhana phirni

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962



    March 10, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Mayuri! I am drooling over the phirni so much I just cannot read! It is something I must try will bookmark it and come back when I am making it. I love the use of makhana in making this phirni! The recipe sounds so delicious. (I scrolled back and read how to make it cannot resist). Hoping we have guest soon so that I can use this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, even if you don’t have a guest, you still can use it to make it for the family. With hot season already there, its a cool treat.

  • FoodTrails

    March 11, 2020 at 3:43 am

    Loving this Phirini with makhana. this one is a perfect treat for fasting as well as summer afternoons when all one want is something light and yumm and chilled to escape from heat.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 11, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      That’s so true its a cooling and light dessert to enjoy.

  • The Girl Next Door

    March 11, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Absolutely love this phirni made using the very nutritious Makhana! It must be so very refreshing, this dessert, especially when served chilled.

    Loved the detailed recipe and your write-up about Holi. 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 18, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks Priya, it was a perfect treat for Holi.

  • Batter Up With Sujata

    March 14, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Thandai makhana phirni sounds amazing. So innovative. Made makhana kheer but never thought of makhana phirni. Loved the beautiful colour and presentation. Its also perfect for fasting days. I can imagine the heavenly taste.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 16, 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks Sujata, now next time you can try makhana phirni.

  • preethi76

    March 15, 2020 at 5:56 am

    Love the delicious twist to the Phirni. Makhana and thandai phirni is a royal treat for any festive. Love this this scrumptious phirni.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi.

  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    March 16, 2020 at 12:44 am

    This looks absolutely irresistible. So beautifully made and presented. Makhana one of the super food and you have made a phirni from this, for Holi, such a healthy treat.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Renu, it is healthy as one has the option of adding a sweetener of their choice.

  • poonampagar

    March 27, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Making delicious phirni with healthy makhana is such a brilliant idea! Perfect Summer treat whether fasting or not.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 27, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam and that’s right, can make it any time for dessert.

  • Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille)

    March 30, 2020 at 4:16 am

    I love thandai which I had made once, but this dessert is awesome with the way you have combined different Indian flavors and deserts into one!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 30, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you so much Mireille.

  • Sasmita Sahoo Samanta

    April 8, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Phirini with makhana that too in thandai, sounds so flavorful !
    the clicks are so beautiful too here 🙂 Not only during holi, any time one can enjoy this drink in summer …

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 8, 2020 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks Sasmita, yes its true one can enjoy this phirni anytime of the year.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    March 21, 2021 at 12:59 am

    5 stars
    Phirni is my favourite dessert. What a lovely idea of making it with makhanas for fasting days. I can’t wait to try it out. Looks so delicious and inviting.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    March 21, 2021 at 1:02 am

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe. Love the idea of making phirni with makhanas for fasting days. Phirni is my favourite dessert and I will make it sometime soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 21, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you so much Shobha, I too am a big fan of phirni.

  • Mina Joshi

    March 22, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    5 stars
    Phirni with makhana and thandai mixture sounds perfect treat for a hot day. Just checked your recipe for thandai powder too so now I can imagine how lovely this dessert must taste.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 22, 2021 at 7:26 pm

      Thank you so much Mina. If you get makhana, try this phirni. I like to make my own thandai powder as then I can make it according to our taste.

  • Lata Lala

    March 29, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    5 stars
    Loving this makhana phirni that is a perfect treat for summer season or for fasting days.
    It’s a perfect treat that is yummilicious and easy to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 30, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you so much Lata.

  • Pavani

    April 4, 2021 at 6:37 am

    5 stars
    That is such a decadent and delicious kheer using makhana. Crushing the makhana is a great idea – will try your version of makhana kheer soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 4, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you Pavani.

  • Uma Raghupathi

    April 4, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    5 stars
    Makhana phirni looks so delicious. Never thought we could dessert out of fox nuts. This sounds amazing! Perfect Holi Treat

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much Uma. We also make makhana kheer.

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