Strawberry Phirni – Indian Semolina Pudding

This recipe was featured on 100 ways to use Strawberries at Endless Simmer





Ingredients: {Serves 4-5}

Printable Recipe

For the Strawberry Sauce:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries [fresh or frozen]
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For Phirni [Semolina Pudding]

  • 1/2 cup fine semolina flour [suji/sooji] [available in indian stores]
  • 1 tbsp ghee [substitute with clarified butter/unsalted butter]
  • 4 cups evaporated milk [ Substitute with half n half /whole milk/soy or almond or coconut milk for vegan version]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar [ adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp rose-water [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & almonds [Or any nuts of choice] + Extra for garnish.

For the Strawberry Sauce:-
Add the chopped strawberries and sugar to a sauce pan and let cook on low heat for about 5-8 minutes till they are soft.Once they are soft, I used my spatula to mush them in the pan itself,you can blend them to make a smooth sauce if you like.Once cooked, let cool to room temperature, if you feel that the sauce is runny after cooling, you may need to cook it little more to achieve a thicker consistency.Tip the sauce into the glasses or serving bowls and let chill.
For the Phirni :-
[While the strawberry sauce is cooking]
  • In a skillet, on very medium heat,toast the semolina flour along with ghee till its light golden in color.You will need to continuously stir the flour as it roasts and keep a watch because semolina burns easily.Takes about 5-8 minutes.
[While the semolina flour is toasting]
  • In a wide-mouthed, heavy bottomed utensil, let milk come to a boil on medium heat.Stir once or twice midway to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the utensil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and start adding the toasted semolina flour to the boiling milk and whisking thoroughly with the other hand.This is a very important step, if you do not whisk continuously, semolina will form lumps within seconds.
  • Within 5 minutes you will see that the milk starts to thicken as the semolina granules swell up and absorb milk.Continue whisking for about 3-4 minutes until you get a thick but runny consistency similar to ketchup.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.Add the granulated sugar, nuts, cardamom powder and rose-water to the semolina-milk mix and combine thoroughly.You will see that as the sugar dissolves the pudding will thin out.Note that it is important to add the sugar while the pudding is still warm.
  • Let the pudding cool to a room temperature and then add it on top of the already cooled strawberry sauce.Cover the bowls/glasses with cling film to avoid formation of skin on top and let set in the refrigerator till set [About 2-3 hours]
  • Garnish with chopped nuts or strawberries and serve chilled.

  1. I used canned evaporated milk because we like the taste and the caramel color that it lends to the pudding.In case you will use milk and half n half, you wont get the same color.
  2. Instead of strawberry sauce, try pureed mango , sliced bananas or any other kind of fruit.Please do not use citrus fruits because that may lead to cuddling of the milk in the pudding.You can avoid the fruit sauce completely & make the pudding on its own only.
  3. The same recipe can be used to make phirni with ground rice or cornmeal.In case of rice flour,do not toast it.
  4. The pudding keeps for 2-3 days, refrigerated.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

63 thoughts on “Strawberry Phirni – Indian Semolina Pudding

  1. Hi Tanvi! Another wonderful pictures and post. I love the story behind this pudding, about our school days. 🙂 Its’ funny your mom add more spoons of ghee in your milk and you get better score! LOL. Maybe she was right! 😉 Well at least you became such a great cook learning from her, obviously. My mom didn’t make dessert much while I was growing up and now I’m not making dessert for my kids either. I know kids usually remember how their mom bakes some sugary stuff growing up, so I should try harder to be involved with their sweet memory. 🙂

  2. It’s amazing the phirni looks like an even smaller version of sago pearls! Beautiful colours with the strawberries too 🙂

  3. Ooo, this looks delicious! I’m not familiar with phirni…it sounds a bit like halwa with ground nuts. Which is my favorite, I like it a lot better than kheer. 🙂

  4. pink and black – India – and alice looked into the mirror and pleated her skirt...looked again and said..oh wow is that me!!!
    sulagna on said:

    Tanvi the pictures are absolutely amazing, you really are a bunch of talent !

    Phirni is one of my favorite desserts, i remember it being given to us in small earthen plates as a kid, when we used to go for some puja in the neighbours house. Not to mention, Ma made this everytime i was down with cold and the milk and sugar and sooji would flatter my sick taste buds .

  5. hehe Tanvi – my mother in law is like that and still is. In the morning when I have roti, she thinks the more ghee she adds, the better I will be. And I keep telling her I want roti without gheeeeee!!! My mom on the other hand was very health conscious and always looked for cutting calories in our food. I remember sending the phirni recipe to you once, but this with semolina is so different. I bet its as good! Lovely pictures. All of them!

  6. Anita Menon – Mimi's Mama | Business Consultant | Food Blogger | Movie Reviewer | Writer | Co-author of 'My Beautiful Bahrain' | Aspiring Fashionista
    Anita Menon on said:

    Absolutely divine looking dessert…

  7. Radhika @ Just Homemade – I'm Radhika, the writer, cook, photographer, stylist and all other roles behind the scenes of Just Homemade. Also a true-blue Bangalorean (Namma Bengalooru!), a dreamer, hopeless perfectionist, sporadic baker, hobbyist, prop collector, container gardener, cookbook convert, ex-data warehouse consultant and a mom of two.
    Radhika on said:

    I can’t believe I have to say ‘same pinch’ here too! My mom is exactly like that. She pretty much comes with a bottle of ghee along with the plate of food. For her, ghee must go on anything and everything and only then she has done her motherly duty well!

    BTW, by pairing with the strawberries, you’ve given a quaint twist to the humble phirni.. neat!

  8. Hi Tanvi. I can’t get over this Phirni. I have never made one but would love to and your directions are very detailed so I think I can actually make it with success. I hope you write a cookbook someday because I would be the first in line to buy it. Each recipe is intriguing on this blog and beautiful.

  9. lovely pictures Tanvi and simply delicious recipe. but firni with semolina is new to me. what we get as firni in Kolkata restaurants is made with rice powder and milk. would try out this one soon.

  10. Sawsan Abu Farha @ Chef in disguise – Http:// – In love with the Middle Eastern culture and cuisine. Sharing easy authentic Middle Eastern recipes is my passion
    thefooddoctor on said:

    Your pictures are so beautiful 🙂
    I love the story with the recipe. My mum used to insist on a glass of milk with a loaded tablespoon of honey on exam day mornings.
    She makes a delicious samolina pudding quite similar to yours and she tops it with sliced bananas..YUM
    Thanx for the recipe and the memories

  11. Exam time for me meant eating breakfast esp. before going to write one. Rest of the school days I used to be always late…there was no time to even tuck my shirt in or tie my school tie….let alone eat b’fast!! 🙂
    I love this phirni and b’cos my husband n son is not a fan of strawberry though I love it.. I’m going to try this with mangoes !

  12. Our school was not close by.. we had to ride the school bus, but after exam and on the result a similar story used to happen even at our house 🙂 I and Bhai wanted sweet .. my mom used to however make rice pudding ! This is a new kinda pudding to me and it looks so rich and yummy. I am gonna try this one 🙂

  13. Delicious Everyday – Freelance food photographer & stylist. Portfolio at Vegetarian food blogger at Delicious Everyday
    delicieux on said:

    Tanvi this looks SO delicious! The Indian pudding I’ve ever tried is gulab jamin, but this is on a whole other level and SO beautiful looking! I love the contrast of the strawberry layer and the phirni. I am definitely making this when I get back from holidays!

  14. I have a feeling it’s a tendency of all moms to try to fatten up their children! And I would have gleefully been fattened up if it means getting to eat this delicious dessert!

  15. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen – Los Angeles, CA – Gourmande in the Kitchen is about food, photography, and pursuing life with a camera in one hand and a fork in the other!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen on said:

    I also grew up eating semolina pudding, it’s quite popular as a dessert in France along with rice pudding. I guess those are just comfort foods no matter where you are in the world.

  16. I am such a strawberry lover and I think you knew I would LOVEEEE this recipe lol. I always learn new recipes when I come here and I have to say thank you for that. Your blog is simply wonderful. I hope you and the family have a great Memorial Day Weekend 🙂

  17. milk and ghee oh NO mama! and semolina pudding with strawberries shall try is for my fin friends, look yum, but have to wait for couple of months to get good berries here 🙁

  18. Never tried phirni before, but it sounds like something I’d very much enjoy. I love when recipes have back stories–makes them that much more special and enjoyable. This looks fantastic!

  19. I haven’t had much experience with semolina, except in cake form. This pudding looks so fresh and vibrant 🙂

  20. that looks delish! will bookmark this with my account until i get all the ingredients! thanks for including vegan notes. 🙂

  21. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) – I’m Faith and I blog at where I share my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Come check out my mosaic of recipes.
    Faith on said:

    How delicious. I’ve never had Strawberry Phirni before but I love strawberry so I’d love to give this a try. Great pictures Tanvi.

  22. Saloni Jolly-Banga – Dubai – Dubai based Indian food blogger, shares easy recipes & travel stories which evoke nostalgia. Home proud, on look out for DIY projects and believes in eating healthy!
    Saloni Banga on said:

    Great post! I have got to try this soon since this recipe two of my favorite things together, Phirni and strawberry. By the looks of it, it looks so delis 🙂

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