Cinnamon Phirni Drink


I’ve been seeing so many Horchata recipes popping up in my feeds and its fundamental flavours reminded me so much of some of the Indian desserts I grew up with. I was particularly taken back to Phirni, a milk-based pudding lightly set with either rice flour or semolina. I found a recipe in an early edition of the South African Indian kitchen’s holy tome, the Indian Delights by the Women’s Cultural Group of Durban. Here it is, with just a few adjustments for taste and texture.

Cinnamon Phirni Drink
(adapted from Indian Delights, 3rd Impression, Circa 1975)

  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 TBSP rice flour + 3 TBSP milk
  • 3-4 TBSP coconut sugar/sweetener to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pour the milk  into a pot over medium heat.

Mix the rice flour into the additional milk to create a slurry.

Add the rice flour liquid to the pot just before the milk reaches a boil.

Add the sweetener, cardamom and cinnamon to the pot.

Simmer until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a thin porridge.

Remove from heat and pour into shallow bowls or cups.

Either drink as is, or chill before serving. Garnish with additional cinnamon.

If you require a bit more sweetness, top with maple syrup.

This mixture may also be frozen and served as a light ice cream.


Pictured with Nutella Monsterbuns (ready-made supermarket bread dough kneaded with Nutella to create a marbled effect before baking as rolls.)

2 comments on “Cinnamon Phirni Drink

    1. Hi Nabeela,
      You could try using cornflour instead. It may make the phirni thicker so start off with two tablespoons, and add more if the consistency is not to your liking.
      Let me know how it goes.

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