Zarda is a popular north Indian dessert. Made with long grain fragrant rice, ghee, spices, saffron, sugar, Mawa & lots of dry fruits. This dish is bright yellow in color due to the use of saffron and is served during special occasions and celebrations.
Wash 1/2 cup basmati rice thoroughly in water until the water runs clear from the starch. Then soak the basmati rice in enough water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the rice and set it aside.
Then, take a cup of water in a 2-liter pressure cooker.
Add 1/8 teaspoon saffron strands or 3 to 4 pinches of saffron. Mix saffron threads in water with a spoon.
In this water, add 1/2 cup of previously soaked rice.
Then, add 5 to 6 cloves to it. You can add more cloves (8-9) if you want.
Cover the pressure cooker lid with the weight. Cook it on a medium flame for 2 whistles or about 6 to 6 minutes.
After cooking for 6-7 minutes, turn off the heat and reduce the pressure.
It may take 5-7 minutes to reduce the pressure, open the lid and check if the rice is fully cooked or not.
Rice needs to be cooked. Gently puff up the rice.
Making Zarda Pulao
Now, put 3 tablespoons of clarified butter in a heavy bottom pan or pan.
Spread the clarified butter around the pan with a spatula or spoon. We do this to prevent the rice grains from sticking to the pan while cooking.
Now, add cooked rice to this pan.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to it, then sprinkle 3/4 tsp cardamom powder over it. For more cardamom flavor, you can add 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder.
Mix well but gently so that the sugar is evenly distributed in the cooked rice grains.
Cook the rice mixture on low heat. The sugar will melt, and the pulao will turn into a liquid consistency.
Keep stirring the Zarda Pulao mixture occasionally.
Cook until the sugar solution evaporates the moisture. If rice grains begin to harden or thicken after cooking, cover the pan with a damp cotton cloth. Cover and cook the zarda casserole again for 20 to 30 seconds.
Once the liquid consistency is gone; Then add 8 pistachios (chopped), 8 almonds (chopped), and 8 cashews (chopped). Mix them well, and turn off the heat.
You can also add raisins if you want.
Sweet rice can be served hot. For serving, spread the zarda on a large plate, garnish with cashews, raisins, almonds, pistachios, and serve. You can also garnish it with tutti frutti to add more colors to this recipe.
Zarda Recipe by Punam Paul from https://punampaul.com/zarda-recipe-meethe-chawal-recipe/