Zarda – Meethe Chawal – Sweet Rice

Zarda Meethe Chawal Sweet Rice This dish has uncertain origins but I do know it is made by Hindus and Muslims on special occassions. The Hindus call it ‘Meethe Chawal’ or sweet rice and the Muslims call it Zarda. Aamir, a friend at work, brought some from home and was nice enough to share it with all of us.It is a very delicately flavored dish, flavored with cardamom, sugar and other spices that vary from region to region, cook to cook. The end result however, is an exquisite dish that is easy to cook, not too sweet and quite tasty.

The essential method is to cook basmati rice just right so each grain is separate and set aside. We then saute some cloves, green cardamom, raisins and nuts in clarified butter [ghee]. When thats done, add half the rice, mix well and sprinkle some sugar over it. Then put in the rest of the rice and sprinkle a little more sugar over it. How much sugar you put depends on your taste. Cook sealed [not pressure cook] on a very slow fire for about 20 minutes.

Serve warm or hot. Note that you can also use other ingredients like some orange or yellow food color, saffron, orange zest, candied peel and others.