This popular North Indian flavored rice recipe made of basmati rice, saffron, and sugar is known as Zarda, sweet rice, Zarda rice, Zarda Pulao, and Sweet rice. Too many names, right! And why not? This delicious recipe is so delicious that everyone likes to give it a name to show their love for this recipe.
This dish is usually served as a dessert after special occasions and ceremonies. But it can also be served during meals. Due to the use of saffron, the color of the dish is bright yellow. Traditionally this recipe is decorated with dry fruits. But to add more color, I like to add tutti frutti. This is my way of showing affection for this recipe 🙂
For Cooking Rice
- ½ cup basmati rice (बासमती चावल)
- enough water (पानी) for soaking rice
- 5 to 6 cloves (लौंग)
- ⅛ teaspoon saffron (केसर) or 3 to 4 pinches saffron
- 1 cup water (पानी) for pressure cooking rice
- 3 tablespoons clarified butter (घी)
- ¾ teaspoon green cardamom powder (छोटी इलायची पाउडर)
- ½ cup sugar (चीनी)
- 8 almonds (कटा हुआ बादाम) or sliced
- 8 chopped cashew nut (काटा हुआ काजू) or sliced
- 8 chopped pistachio (काटा हुआ पिस्ता) or sliced
- 10 to 12 raisins (किशमिश) or add as required
How To Make Zarda Recipe
- Rice cooked under high pressure.
- 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.
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