Previous generations referred to Kalnirnay or Panchang to find out the dates of auspicious days and festivals. Our generation gets to know of these dates from advertisements that try to lure us to spend our hard-earned moolah on gold, home appliances…pretty much anything that they’re selling really. I’ll admit that I get tempted by sales ads but I HATE shopping in crowded shops. I don’t venture out in malls on such days, no matter how tempting the offer. So for me, festivals are pretty much like any other day, except that it may be a holiday for Kalpesh or Devansh. But I want that to change that; no, I don’t mean that I want to start shopping on such days.
But I want to celebrate these festivals in a way such that Devansh learns about our culture and traditions, and their significance. I started doing that with Gudhi Padwa, the first day of the new year as per Hindu calendar. We hoisted a Gudi, decorated it with neem leaves and traditional garlands of sugar candies. I made a pasta kheer, not exactly a traditional sweet but traditions can be fused with changing times, right? :-)
Next in line is Akshaya Tritiya, which is considered an auspicious day for beginning new ventures to ensure their success. In Sanskrit, the word “Akshaya” means eternal, that which doesn’t perish. And people buy gold or property believing that it’ll last or stay with them forever. Me thinks this interpretation was a result of propaganda by gold vendors and builders/developers. I plan to buy neither; it makes no sense to me to buy gold on days when the rates are sure to be high.
I think I will gift Devansh a book and make this rice phirni to celebrate Akshaya Tritiya this year. I had made this Tender Coconut Phirni a couple of weeks back and so the pics are ready before the Akshaya Tritiya day. ;-) Like Gudi Padwa, this time too I relaxed my stance on sugar as I didn’t think jaggery would capture the essence of this phirni; but I did use organic sugar. Hope you all like this traditional dessert recipe of Tender Coconut Phirni as much as my family liked it. Let me know in comments. I would love to hear from you.
Phirni Recipe | Tender Coconut Phirni
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup chopped tender coconut
- 3 tbsp basmati rice
- 1 tbsp powdered almonds and cashew nuts optional
- 7-8 strands saffron
- 1-2 tbsp chopped/sliced dry fruits for garnishing I used pistachios and cashew nuts
- 3-4 tbsp sugar preferably organic
- 2 pinches cardamom powder
- Wash rice thoroughly and then soak it in some water for an hour.
- Make a coarse paste of the rice grains by grinding them with a little water in a mixer.
- Boil milk in a thick bottomed pan.
- Transfer 2-3 tbsp in a bowl and add saffron strands.
- Lower the flame after the milk comes to a boil and allow it to reduce for 3-4 minutes.
- Add rice paste and allow it to cook on medium-low flame while stirring continuously. (You don’t really need a non-stick pan for this one, just make sure you use a thick-bottomed pan and stir the mixture continuously to prevent it from getting burnt at the bottom.)
- After 5 minutes. add chopped tender coconut and powdered dry fruits. (Continue to stir the mixture as it simmers.)
- After another 5 minutes, add saffron.
- Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. (If you are using regular sugar add 2 tbsp first, check if it’s sweet enough for you and then add more sugar if required. If you are using organic sugar, add 3 tbsp and then check if you need to add more. I feel that you need to use more sugar if you’re using organic.)
- Add cardamom powder and stir, cook for a couple of minutes, and then turn off heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then pour it in a bowl/earthen pots. (The consistency should be more runny than that of a porridge.)
- Garnish with chopped dry fruits and saffron strands. I didn’t add almonds because I was too lazy to first soak them in hot water and peel. Besides, I had the powdered dry fruits ready, which contained almonds.
- Keep the bowls/pots in the fridge to set for an hour.