This is classic sweet dish made from rice and sugar. This dish has different names at different places. In North India, it is called meethe chawal. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is known as Zarda rice or Zarda Pulao. Because it is made from rice and sugar, it is also known as sweet rice.
What is Zarda Rice?
The persian word ‘zard’ and it literally means yellow. As the dish name says, the rice grains are yellow in color.
This color comes from addition of saffron. TIP: to get the maximum color from saffron, dry roast the strands for few seconds (you can do in microwave for 5-8 seconds). Then crush the stands between your thumb and finger. Add this to the rice.
Usually to get yellow color, food color is added. But we are taking the natural route to get meethe chawal a yellow tinge and adding saffron which adds color and flavor. So it’s double bonus, right?
At many places, they divide the rice into portions and color with different colors e.g. red, green, yellow. This multi colored rice looks beautiful.
Meethe Chawal Recipe Rundown:
- Taste & Texture: sweet, rich and very aromatic
- Pros: can be made in big batch easily for large group of people, kids friendly
- Cons: you can’t stop eating
How to make Meethe Chawal or Zarda Rice?
1) Wash the rice under running cold water till water runs clear. Or rinse them 2-3 times till water is not cloudy anymore. Then soak in enough water for 15-20 minutes.
2) After than drain the soaking water.
3) Heat the ghee in a saucepan on medium heat. Once hot, add cloves and black cardamom. Saute for a minute or till you get nice aroma of the spices.
4) Add soaked rice and saute for 1 minute.
5) Then add saffron.
6) Add water and bring it to a boil.
7) Next cover the pan with lid, lower the heat to lowest possible and cook for 7 minutes.
8) By this time all the water is absorbed and rice is almost 50% cooked.
9) Now add sugar.
10) Mix, let it melt.
11) Now again cover it
12) and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
13) Then add rose water.
14) Also add cardamom powder.
15) Add chopped nuts. Save some for garnishing.
16) Mix everything and fluff up the rice.
- Along with chopped nuts, you can add raisin, candied fruits.
- Fry some dry coconut slices in the ghee and use that as a garnishing.
- To make it more rich add ¼ cup crumbled khoya along with sugar.
- You can garnish with pomegranate arils
Meethe Chawal Recipe (Zarda Rice or Pulao) Yellow Sweet Rice
- ¾ cup Basmati Rice
- 2 tablespoons Ghee (Clarified butter)
- 2 Cloves
- 1 Black cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon Saffron
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ⅔ cups Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Green cardamom seeds powder
- 1 teaspoon Rose water
- 2 tablespoons Almonds chopped
- 2 tablespoons Cashew nuts chopped
- 1 tablespoon Pistachios chopped
- Wash and soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Then discard the soaking water.
- Heat the ghee on medium heat and add whole spices (cloves, black cardamom), saute for a minute.
- Add rice and saffron, mix and saute for 1 minute.
- Add water and as it starts boiling, cover the pan, lower the heat to lowest possible and cook for 7 minutes or till rice is 50% done.
- Then mix in sugar, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Lastly add rose water, cardamom powder and chopped nuts.
- Fluff up the rice and mix.
- Remove it to a serving plate and garnish with more chopped nuts.