Celebrate Eid and delight your guests with this festive recipe! 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. Eid Mubarak!
If you’ve ever had Zarda Sweet Rice before, then you’ll understand why it’s a dessert to relish. Every strand of rice is embraced with the honey-like floral zest of saffron. Paired with the queen of spices, cardamom – it’s a match made in heaven. Just look how beautiful it is.
When Ramadan comes to a close, I always wish my mum would make Zarda Sweet Rice for me, paired with Gujarati-style daal. May seem like a odd combination to some, but I love it. The salty, spicy daal compliments the Zarda Sweet Rice perfectly.With half the sugar and less fat, this #Zarda #SweetRice #Recipe is one to devour, this #Eid Click To Tweet
This version of my Zarda Sweet Rice recipe turned out extra delicious this time. Instead of using raisins and sultanas (which are commonly added), I added malatya dried apricots. I cannot help but be drawn to the taste of malatya apricots. The flavour transports me to my childhood, when dad would bring back dried fruit and nut necklaces from Chitraal. My aunties would make them and send them to us as gifts. They were precious and the only memories I have of my aunties.
You may remember the last time I used Malatya apricots, to create my 5-minute Pistachio-Apricot Laddus. Those little balls packed a nutritional punch.
You know, I don’t have time for complicated recipes. Over the years, I’ve not only made this Zarda Sweet Rice healthier, I’ve also simplified it to save time. By soaking the rice for 20 minutes, you’ll reduce cooking time by half. Only cook the rice until it’s two thirds done, and set aside. In the meantime, I continue to prep the rest of the ingredients. You’ll be pleased to hear that the entire recipe is done in 30 minutes.
What makes this recipe extra special is that I released the accompanying recipe video today. Some of you know, it’s been a while since I did a recipe video. As much as I wanted to, my workload the last few months have been extremely heavy. With community work, kids’ graduation ceremonies and recipe creations, its been tough to juggle everything. But that’s what balance is about – life is about juggling priorities and making the most of it.
Hope you enjoy the new video and share.
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
Zarda (Sweet Rice With Nuts & Coconut) | Celebratory Recipe
- 1 cup Basmati rice soaked for 20 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup almonds soaked for 20 minutes
- 2 tbsp milk warm
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 1 tsp yellow food colouring mix with 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup sugar pure cane (you can use regular sugar as well)
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup dried Malatya apricots you can use raisins or sultanas if you prefer
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 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, apricots, 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