Zarda is delicious Pakistani / Indian rice or as it is sometimes referred to as Meethe Chawal. Zarda can often be thought of as a simple and difficult recipe, but hopefully it isn’t that hard. Traditionally served on special occasions, this deliciously light rice is a Pakistani favorite. Made with sugar, milk, food coloring and spices with cardamom, dried pistachios and almonds, Zarda is made in yellow or with different food coloring for a multi-colored effect.
It’s best to use sella basmati rice, but I use regular basmati rice which is long and works well in this recipe.
You can add a lot of dried fruits to Zarda like dried pistachios, almonds and nuts. Some people add khoya or mawa when cooking zarda and they also give zarda a delicious taste.
Another variant of Zarda is Muntanjan, a fully loaded Zarda. It’s also cooked like Zarda, but we’re adding milk instead of using water. And then you can add all kinds of good things like dried fruit, khoya / mawa, colored ashraf, gulab jamun and ras gullas.
There are three simple steps to make Zarda rice:
2. Make Chashni (sugar syrup)
3. Mix the chashni with the rice and cook it on low flame.
Cooking the sun of Zarda:
Cooking rice is something interesting and you have to be careful. The key is not to fully cook the rice. In fact, all you have to do is mix the rice and cook it for 3/4. While we are cooing the rice, we will add yellow food coloring. This is an optional step, but this gives a nice yellowish color. If you don’t want to use food coloring, you can use saffron to achieve this Yellowish/ orange color. Simply dissolve the saffron in a little water and add the saffron instead of using food coloring when cooking the rice. However, saffron has a strong taste, so it definitely gives Zarda its flavor.
Make Chashni/ Sheera (sugar syrup):
To make chashni syrup or sugar, first heat the ghee in a saucepan. Add the cardamom and clove and saute for a minute or until fragment.
Reduce the heat to low, then place a tawa or large pan on the stove. Then place a pot of rice on a tawa or pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the sugar is gone and cooked.
Serve the Zarda by topping the nuts.
Tipps to make the best Zarda for free:
Do not cook rice completely. It should only boil or simmer until 3/4 is done.
When making chashni over medium heat, make sure that the sugar melts evenly and does not burn. When the sugar syrup starts to foam, the chashni is ready.
Zarda rice should be steamed for at least 15 minutes so that the rice cooks and the sugar is completely dissolved. It is also wise that the rice be dry and firm.