¼ cup basmati rice. Cover with water by about two inches and soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
1 tsp ground cardamom
15 cashew nuts, chopped
Strawberries for garnish (optional)
The day before you want to make the Phirni, place the almonds in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover the almonds. Set aside overnight.
Next day, peel the almonds and discard the skins.
Place the almonds in a blender with 4 cups of water and blend into a very smooth milk. Pour through a sieve to catch any large bits that might have remained, or any pieces of skin.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring all but ¼th of a cup of the almond milk to a boil.
Add the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the milk starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.
Drain the rice that's soaking and grind with with the reserved ¼th cup of almond milk.
Add the rice paste to the almond milk and continue to cook, stirring, for another 15-20 minutes. You want to feel the pudding thickening as time goes by.
Cover the phirni with a tight-fitting lid and let the mixture cook another five minutes.
Remove the lid, add the cardamom, rose water and cashew nuts,and cook for another five minutes. Turn off the heat and pour it into individual serving dishes or bowls.
Garnish with chopped strawberries or nuts. The slight tartness of the strawberries is a perfect flavor pairing with the sweet Phirni. You can also add saffron-- soak a generous pinch in 1 tbsp almond milk and add along with the cardamom and cashew nuts.