During my school and college days, the gourmand in me, for the love of food, very often, self-invited myself for lunch and dinner at a friend’s house.
Once, during such a self invitation, I got talking with my friend’s mother. I had to invariably speak a lot on such occasions to divert everyone’s attention and more so to reduce my guilt.
So I started praising my aunt’s cooking and asked her about the various dishes she likes to prepare. She told me that she makes the usual Punjabi dishes such as Dal Makhani, Chhole, Firni, etc. Now, the name Firni stuck with me. I had heard of this dish for the first time.
Next, I inquired about the Firni recipe. Aunty told me how to make it and promised to make me taste it when she makes it next. So somewhere in my mind, I told myself it is like a thick kheer.
Kheer is very popular in Indian homes as it is easy and convenient to make. The milk and rice can be left boiling on the gas while you cook the other dishes. Ingredients are also readily available at home.
Since I have learnt this new dessert, Firni, which can be made with the same ingredients as Kheer, I told my mother that next time, instead of making Kheer, we will make Firni. And specifically said to her that I would make it.
One day, I got on the task of making Firni. I told my mother not to interfere and allow me to make it all by myself. The other day, at my friend’s house, I did not ask aunty about the ratio of rice to milk in my excitement and nervousness. So, when I mixed the rice paste into the milk, it became almost like rice dough. I added more milk to it, but it soaked all up. After adding almost all the milk in the house, I was tired and frustrated. I switched off the gas and went out of the house on the pretext that I had a class.
After I returned home, I opened the fridge to take out the water bottle. I was surprised to see numerous earthen bowls with Firni, decorated with dry fruits and arranged beautifully in a tray. That day our entire building ate Firni for dessert.
I thanked my mom for rectifying my dish. But, unfortunately, she had to add another liter of milk to bring it to the required consistency. Moreover, I promised her that I would never again (Fir Nahi) embark on a cooking task without knowing the exact recipe.