In October, we announced that the Featured Project for January 2022 would be Afghanistan Libre’s work to support the mental health, wellbeing, and safety of survivors of gender-based violence and contemporary forms of slavery. With a heavy heart, Afghanistan Libre has had to cease operations and is withdrawing all of its activities from Afghanistan due to the ongoing security concerns in Afghanistan. We post this recipe in their honor.
For a recipe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, click here.
Afghani cuisine has notes of Persian, Indian, and Mongolian cuisine but uses ingredients that are primarily grown in the region. Delicately spiced and fragrant with aromatics, Afghani cuisine is known for its liberal use of dried fruits and nuts even in some of its more popular savory dishes. Firni (or Firnee) is one of its more popular sweet dishes but has all the hallmarks of Afghani cuisine. It is delicately spiced with cardamom, fragrant with rosewater, makes liberal use of pistachios, and is milk-based. Firni is thus a cardamom, rosewater, and pistachio custard that is served cold. Although it is served during festivals and special occasions, Firni uses just a few ingredients and comes together rather quickly, 15 minutes or less, over the stovetop. Optional garnishes include rose petals, pomegranate arils, or almonds. The pistachio is, however, not optional. Make it vegan by using almond milk.
Firni (Cardamom, Pistachio and Rosewater Custard)
Serves: 4 – 6
Whole milk – 2 ¼ cups, divided
Granulated sugar – ½ cup
Cornstarch – 4 Tbsp
Cardamom, ground – ½ tsp
Rosewater – 2 tsp
Pistachios, finely chopped— 2 tbsp
Pistachio, coarsely chopped – 4 tbsp
Rose petals – for garnish, optional
Ramekins/individual serving bowls
- Add 2 cups milk to a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over a low setting.
- Meanwhile, prepare cornstarch slurry by mixing the half cup of milk with the 4 Tbsp of cornstarch. Mix well so no lumps remain, and it has a smooth consistency.
- When the milk that is being heated starts to come to a boil, reduce to simmer and add sugar, cardamom, 2 tbsp of pistachio and rose water. Stir to mix.
- Then add the cornstarch slurry and stir with a continuous motion as it thickens and reaches a porridge like consistency. This should take only a few minutes.
- Remove pan from stove and spoon into ramekins or individual serving bowls. Makes 4 – 6 servings.
- Refrigerate and serve cold with the remaining pistachios and rose petals (if using) as garnish.
Recipe and photo credit: Vinola V. Munyon