February 16, 2010

Fereni: Persian Rice Flour Dessert

فرنی Fereni is a soft, creamy and sweet dessert made with rice flour, milk, sugar and rosewater and is very comforting for the cold winter days. My mother was born in the western city of Hamadan, Iran, which was known for its Alvand Mountain (kuh-e Alvand), historical background, many tourist attractions as well as its very cold winters. Hamadan is one of the oldest cities in Iran. When my mother married she moved from one of coldest and oldest cities in Iran to one of the hottest areas in the country with new constructions and developments due to the oil industry. She brought her love of Baba Taher poetry with her, some of Ibn Sina's knowledge about herbal medicines and Hamadan's cold weather foods. Foods that are meant to warm you up and soothe you came from my mother's side.

This is yet another wonderful dessert made with rice. Unlike the other rice desserts that are cooked with rice grains such Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard) and Rice Pudding (Shir Berenj), Fereni is made with rice flour.The cooking time may take about 20-30 minutes or until all the ingredients are all well blended, well cooked and thickened. However, Fereni needs a good stirring while cooking on the stove, otherwise it will turn into lumps.

Fereni, like many other delicious Iranian foods, doesn't need any garnish but decorating the food and making it pleasing to the eyes is also very important. Of course, this may vary from household to household. In our home, my father enjoyed an elaborately garnished and well presented dish just as much as he cared for the taste. On the other hand, my mother couldn't be bothered with food presentation after raising a bunch of loud and hyper kids (excluding me of course!) Many times she would bring the pot of stews (ash and abgusht) right from the stove to the table. That may be why I  go back and forth between making the food look pretty or just leaving it on the stove for everyone to serve themselves!

Fereni: Persian Rice Flour Dessert

Serves 4

1 cup rice flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 gallon of milk (6-8 cups of milk)
3 tablespoons rosewater 
1-2 tablespoons of crushed pistachios or slivered almonds for garnish


  1. In a bowl add 2 cups of cold milk to the rice flour and let it soak for at least 1/2 an hour before cooking. 
  2. In a heavy bottom pot, bring the remaining milk to a gentle boil, add the flour and milk mixture and lower the heat to medium-low. Give it a good stir. 
  3. Mix in the sugar and stir frequently. Cook for about 20 minutes, add the rose water and cook for an additional 10 minutes. 
Serve in a large bowl or small individual size bowls. Garnish with crushed pistachios or slivered almonds. 

Fereni may be served warm, cold or at room temperature.



  1. delicious. adore firni. i like the stories about your mum :) x shayma

  2. Fereni. . .farina. Yes, there has to be a connection there. To make rice flour, can you just grind the raw rice into a flour?

    As for presentation, yours looks so gorgeous and fluffy. Like clouds.

    I'm like you--somedays I go out of my way to make the food look beautiful; other days I'm tired and grateful to have actually have made a meal at all ;-)

  3. oh this looks wonderful love your posts and learning about Iran

  4. Azita
    We have a similar dish in Lebanese cuisine. I love the subtle taste that rice flour gives the pudding. I don't make it too often because of all that stirring! Hamadan is a city I want to visit someday! (did I tell you my parents visited Iran on their honeymoon? I was born exactly 9 months later and I am convinced my love for all things Persian is related to that chain of events!

  5. This sounds just heavenly! The flavors with rose water must be fantastic!

  6. Will definitely enjoy this delicious sweet rice.

  7. thank you Shayma jan. I like reading stories about your mom too!x
    Bria, thanks. I've always bought rice flour but I don't see why you can't make your own flour by grinding the rice! let me know how it turns out if you do.
    Chow and Chatter, thank you!
    Taste of Beirut, that must have been a romantic honeymoon back then and I can now see why you might love all things Persian! :)
    5 Star Foodie, Thanks so much!
    Elra, I'm glad you like it!

  8. Yum - One of my favorite desserts, and so easy to make. I'm happy to finally have a nice recipe to follow.
    Thank you for sharing

  9. I love this delightful dessert! So refined tasting and delicious!



  10. This is a favorite dessert in our family.. tops over "Kheer", which uses whole rice. I have it in my blog.. So lovely. In India the "firni" or "Phirni" as we call it, are sold in individual earthern pots.Mmmmmm.. I can almost smell them.

  11. This looks quite delicious. I love any pudding-type dish and I definitely need to try this one! Beautiful photos and anecdotes about your mother.

  12. it's always pleasure to stoping by here and read your story behind every food your made.

  13. tried making this with a little less rose water and a an addition of cinnamon and cardamom. was a hit! :)

  14. In October 2013 I visted Iran with my husband and we tried fereni in Shiraz it was served with kind of grape melasa as I think and it was great!!!!

  15. Made it! Was fantastic. I used brown rice flour, and added cinnamon + cardamom as well. Your tip about soaking the rice flour in cold milk first is excellent.

    1. Susan, thanks for trying this recipe and letting me know. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  16. This was so delicious. I had fereni once at a Persian restaurant served with sliced strawberries, kiwis and slivered almonds. I went looking for the recipe and found this. It's exactly like what I had at the restaurant and it's serious comfort food. Thank you so much!

  17. I was in need of comfort today, and I saw this recipe and had to make it. My cookbook with my grandmother's recipes is in storage since I have most of them memorized. Fereni is not one of the ones I've made before though. I haven't had it since I was a child, when my grandmother made it for me if I was sick. I had to use Bob's Redmill white rice flour since the nearest international grocery is 40 minutes away. Next time, I will use a Persian brand instead so that it has the right flavor, this time it was a little bland due to the type of rice used in the flour. But it turned out pretty well, given that limitation. Thank you. It was a nice treat. And a nice reminder of my grandmother on a day I needed just that.

  18. Update: made it again tonight, but with Golchin brand rice flour and it was a sucess! It tasted right and had much better texture! Sucess. I followed the directions exactly.

  19. Is rose water optional? I dont remember my mom making it with rose water.