Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand.
And here comes the King – King Mango, of course! Though there is abundance of delicious, juicy and colourful fruits in summer but all of them kind of fade away as soon as mangoes hit the market. It’s just befitting that the entire summer season becomes an Ode to Mango and I’m sure John Keats would have agreed with me!
The first batch of enticing mangoes in the kitchen makes my imagination run crazy with ideas to incorporate them into different desserts. The deep, rich, luscious sweetness of Pakistani mangoes tastes great with many cool dairy desserts. But what I love most is the divine blend of mango with mild and refreshing coconut. This Coconut milk Mango Phirni is what I created in one such moment of inspiration – fusion of a royal Persian dessert recipe with fresh tropical flavours.
Replacing the traditional trio of dairy milk, rice and sugar, I cook this smooth and creamy custard in coconut milk, with organic brown sugar and rice flour, enriched with cardamom, almonds and pandan essence or rose water. The creamy, smooth, chilled custard of Coconut milk Mango Phirni tastes like a mini tropical heaven in a bowl. An egg free, dairy free, mildly sweet dessert that everyone can enjoy!
-If you don’t have rice flour, soak 1/4 cup rice for 30 minutes in water. Drain and blend with 1/4 cup coconut.
-You can use cashews or pine nuts as well with or instead of almonds.
-cook at medium low to low temperature at all time and keep stirring because Phirni catches quite easily at the bottom of the pan.
-any exotic flavouring enhances the taste tremendously – choose from pandan/kewra, rose water, cardamom or almond essence.
-you can add saffron to enhance the colour too.
-if you want to make a layered version, as I have, mix mango puree only in half of the Phirni. Layer coconut phirni in glasses or custard bowls then the mango flavoured one.
2 cups coconut milk
7 tablespoons rice flour
5 tablespoons organic brown sugar/desi shakkar
1/2 cup almonds
4-5 ground green cardamoms or seeds crushed
One large ripe mango
a few drops pandan/kewra essence or rose water
This Is What You Do:
Heat coconut milk in a saucepan on medium low heat with ground cardamoms or crushed cardamom seeds.
Add sugar and stir till all sugar dissolves.
Blend almonds with 1 cup water to make a smooth paste. Save a few for garnish.
Peel and blend 3/4 of the mango flesh to a smooth puree.
Mix rice flour in almond paste. If the paste is too thick, add a little more water or coconut milk to it.
Pour the paste into the pan and stir till the mixture begins to thicken up like custard. Takes only a few minutes so stay alert. Add mango puree. Mix.
Turn off the heat. Add pandan/kewra or rosewater.
Refrigerate till chilled. Garnish with crushed almonds, mango cubes and mint leaves.