• 40g basmati rice
  • 1 liter whole milk
  • a good pinch of saffron strands
  • 5 cardamom pods, seeds ground
  • 4 tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp Greek-style natural yogurt


SAFFRON YOGURT PHIRNI : Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 1 hour, then drain and dry completely on kitchen paper.

Pour 900ml of the milk into a wide, thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the saffron. Place on the stove and heat up, then gently simmer the milk until it has reduced to 600ml. This will take about 15 minutes. You will need to stir the milk often, scraping the base of the pan to make sure the milk doesn’t catch and burn. If the heat is too high, the milk will rise up in the pan and boil over, so keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, set aside 1 teaspoon of the soaked rice in a small bowl. Grind the rest of the rice in a spice grinder or mini food processor until it is a coarse powder. Mix this with the remaining 100ml cold milk and set aside.

Once the milk has reduced, pour the ground rice mixture into the hot reduced milk, also adding the reserved soaked rice grains, whisking well so that clumps don’t form. Keep cooking and stirring for 10 minutes or so over moderate heat until the mixture is slightly thickened and has a smooth coating consistency like a custard.

Add the cardamom and sugar to the pan and keep stirring until the mixture has thickened, another 5-7 minutes or so.

Pour into a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature, then stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust the sweetness if you wish, bearing in mind that, as it cools, the sugar will taste less pronounced.

Pour into little individual pots (about 100ml capacity each) or a larger shallow dish (about 600ml capacity), cover with clingfilm, and chill overnight in the fridge. Serve garnished with nuts or mango or both.