Recipe: Sooji Phirni | Kashmiri Suji Phirni | Kong Phirin
Sooji Phirni is a traditional Kashmiri dessert made using semolina instead of rice. It turns our so aromatic and flavourful because of saffron. Full fat milk lands to the creamy texture of this sweet dish. And the best part is that it is easy to make. Additional advantage is that it can be made a day ahead if you’re going to serve for any festival.
In fact, I had first made sooji phirni to celebrate Vasant Panchami and posted it on 30/01/2017. Back then the photos I had taken were not too good. With the upcoming festive season, I decided to redo the post with better photos, an addition of a video and also more structured write up. Indeed one can make this sooji phirni for any festival. As I update this post, Raksha Bandhan is round the corner and I will be making this dessert again.
To explain, #VasantPanchami was the 77th theme decided by the group. It is a tradition to offer yellow food to Goddess Saraswati on vasant Panchami. With this in mind I decided to try out sooji phirni at home with saffron. As I avoid using artificial colour, my phirni is not bright yellow.
What Is Vasant Panchami/Basant Panchami
It is believed that the celebration of this auspicious day which falls on the 5th day of the Magh month (Gregorian calendar month of February) marks the beginning of spring season. For example, Punjab region celebrates this festival by flying kites. The mustard plants begins to flower during this time, creating stretches of fields into bright yellow carpets. The blooming mustard plants symbolise youth, freshness, procreation,love, change and life itself.
For this reason people wear yellow clothes and celebrate with sweets that are yellow in colour. Particularly, for Uttarkashi, it is a farmers festival. Doors of homes are decorated with yellow flowers to welcome spring and the sowing season. In brief, Bihar people wears yellow clothes and yellow tilaks of turmeric on their foreheads and perform prayers early in the morning to the Sun, Ganga and the Earth.
History Behind This Festival
It is believed that this festival originated during the Aryan civilization. Aryans crossed the Saraswati River and settled along the banks of the river.Hence, Saraswati River began to be associated with fertility and knowledge and locals began to celebrate this festival.
According to legend there was a very proud princess who refused to marry any suitor who could not match her knowledge. As a result, the pundits made Kalidasa, who was dumb, participate in a question answer session with the princess. Since he could not talk, he answered what he believed by using sign language which the pundits interpreted as they liked. The princess married him and found out that he was dumb and not intelligent.She kicked him out of the palace. Dejected he was about to commit suicide when Goddess Saraswati appeared before him and asked him to dip in the Saraswati river. When he emerged from the river he was a changed man and began to recite verses.
Poem By Shri Narendra Modi
At this juncture I must share with you a poem which has been written by Shri Narendra Modi about Basant. Its penned in Gujarati but I hear that his book on poems and translations have been published.
Click on the link to listen to artist Parthiv Gohil sing this composition.
All that begins meets an end, Every end onsets a new beginning,
Also Celebrated As Saraswati Puja Day
Om Hreem Saraswatyai Namah
Many educational institutions worship Goddess Saraswati on this auspicious day. They drape her in a yellow sari and offer her yellow sweets. New schools are opened on this day. A child learns to read and write his/her first word on this day. It is said that Goddess Saraswati invented Sanskrit, the mother of all languages. She is the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music and learning. Thus, the encouragement by the Indian Government to worship Saraswati in all Educational Institutes on Vasant Panchami.
For whatever reason or belief we celebrate Vasant Panchami, I know that if it were not for the opportunity given by my parents to attend school, if it were not for the wonderful teachers that helped me to read and write and above all the blessings of Ma Saraswati, I would not be writing this post or for that matter any other posts on my blog.
Some Food Recipes That Are Yellow:
Ingredients Required For Sooji Phirni
Semolina – sooji, suji. Use fine or medium semolina for this recipe.
Milk – preferably full fat milk. If you don’t get full fat milk then replace about ¼ cup milk with cream.
Sugar- adjust the amount according to your taste. For my family ¼ cup is fine.
Cardamom Powder – add according to your taste.
Saffron – soak the saffron strands in about 2 tbsp of milk for 10 minutes. This helps to infuse the flavour and colour.
Pistachios – sliced or chopped to add on top as garnish.
Almonds – sliced or chopped to add on top as garnish.
SOOJI PHIRNI | KASHMIRI SUJI PHIRNI | KONG PHIRIN
- ⅓ cup semolina
- 1 litre full fat milk
- ¼ - ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- 2-3 tbsp almonds chopped
- 2-3 tbsp pistachios chopped
- Heat 2 tbsp of milk till its hot. Add the saffron strands and let it infuse for 10 minutes.
- Add milk in a pan. Place it over medium heat.
- Bring the milk to a boil. Lower the heat a bit.
- Stirring all the time add the semolina little by little. This way it will not lump up.
- Keep stirring the mixture till it begins to simmer and becomes a bit thick. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
- When the mixture becomes slightly thick, add the saffron milk.
- Keep stirring as you don't want the milk to burn at the bottom of the pan.
- Add the sugar also. Keep stirring.
- After 5 minutes the mixture will become thick. When you move the spoon/spatula across a trail will be left.
- This means the mixture is thick enough.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool a bit for 3-4 minutes.
- Spoon the sooji phirni into individual serving bowls.
- Cover the bowls with small lids or cling film.
- Allow it to chill for at least 2-3 hours. Alternately, allow it to cool and set at room temperature before serving.
- Just before serving garnish the top with chopped almonds and pistachios.
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