Phirni is a creamy rice-based dessert, which is usually made from coarsely ground basmati rice. It is traditionally served in small earthen bowls, which are used to keep the pudding cool.

This recipe uses wholemeal oats instead of rice. Oats are higher in protein content, fibre, and as a slow-digesting carb, oats are also a great way to feel energised and alert.

Rooh Afza is a concentrate that includes the essences of coriander, orange, pineapple, carrot, rose petals, spinach and mint. The drink is said to be the discovery of Hakim Abdul Majeed, a renowned Unani physician of herbal medicine. This syrup, made by the ‘Hamdard’ company, is said to have medicinal properties and is a refreshingly cooling drink for warmer climates.

Rooh Afza also invokes a sense of nostalgia from my childhood, when the drink, with its brilliant red colour and exotic fragrance, had a sense of mystery and allure that no soft drink could match up to. With the addition of a little Rooh Afza to the phirni, you can take a trip down memory lane while enjoying your dessert.


  • Wholemeal rolled oats – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 3 cups
  • Sugar – 4 teaspoons
  • Cardamom powder – a pinch
  • Rooh Afza syrup – 1/3 cup



  1. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium-sized vessel.
  2. Meanwhile, grind the rolled oats to a fine powder and set aside.
  3. Once the milk starts boiling, add the powdered oats and keep stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.
  4. Once the oats are cooked and the mixture is slightly thick, add sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  5. Now, add the cardamom powder and the Rooh Afza syrup and stir it into the mixture.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the oats phirni cool down.
  7. Serve the phirni at room temperature or chilled.

Phirni with a twist