Go Back
+ servings

Zarda (Sweet Rice With Nuts & Coconut) | Celebratory Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
This Zarda Sweet Rice is a healthier twist to a traditional recipe; with half the sugar and less fat. The rice is cooked in nuts, cardamom, sugar, coconut and dried fruits, and finished with saffron milk, to create an irresistible end to your meal. Celebrate Eid and delight your guests with this festive recipe!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting time7 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 6 people
bowls of zarda (sweet rice) on a gold tray


  • 1 cup Basmati rice rinsed thoroughly and soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup almonds unsalted, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 tbsp milk warm
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp yellow food colouring mix with 2 tbsp water. You can also use orange food colouring as well.
  • 1 tbsp butter vegan
  • 1/2 cup sugar pure cane (you can use regular sugar as well)
  • 1/2 cup cashews unsalted
  • 1/2 cup raisens you can use sultanas, dried cranberries or dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • 8 green cardamom pods crushed finely


  • Wash and drain the rice till the water no longer runs cloudy. Soak the rice and almonds separately for 20 minutes
  • In a medium pot, heat 2 cups of water. Once boiled, add the rice and cook for 5-7 minutes or until two thirds cooked through
  • Warm the milk and add the saffron. Set aside, allowing the saffron to infuse its flavour and colour into the milk
  • In the meantime, heat a large pan on high heat. Add the butter and stir until melted
  • Add the sugar, nuts, raisens, coconut, cardamom, 1/2 cup water and food colouring and stir well
  • Cook on high heat, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar has completely melted and the water has nearly reduced
  • Add the cooked rice and stir gently (not to break the rice), but ensure that all the rice is combined well with the ingredients and colour
  • Pour the saffron milk mixture over the rice
  • Switch off and remove from the heat. Cover with a tight lid, and let it sit for 5-7 minutes. This allows all the flavours to infuse, without overcooking and breaking the rice with too much stirring


  • Make sure to soak the rice and almonds in advance to reduce the cooking time
  • Avoid overcooking the rice, otherwise it will be mushy
  • It's important to wait and reduce the water before adding the rice. That way, your rice will be perfectly fluffy
  • Stir gently and avoid stirring too often once you add the rice
  • You can omit the food colouring but it does give the rice an authentic look. The saffron will give it a hint of colour
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge or freezer
Nutrition Facts
Zarda (Sweet Rice With Nuts & Coconut) | Celebratory Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 47mg2%
Potassium 265mg8%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 60IU1%
Vitamin C 0.6mg1%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life - your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It's okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.