Indian Cooking Challenge for March saw us making a simple, delicious sweet dish with rice from the Kashmiri Cuisine, Zarda ~ Sweet Saffron Rice. While this might sound very much like the Sakkarai Pongal of our South, Zarda surely differs in its rich inclusion of nuts and tutti fruity etc.
As always I almost left it very late to decide on the recipe and with the full month marathon going on, I thought I could give that excuse. Some of the members wrote to me asking for the challenge and I reluctantly refused, quoting the nonstop marathon. Finally, Vaishali wrote to me asking why I hadn’t put up any recipe. When I said I wanted to skip, she said we could make a simple sweet and suggested this recipe. So knowing this dish wouldn’t really take that much time, I went ahead announcing it.
However, I ended up making it for Sunday lunch. With the recipe being so simple, it surely tastes great and makes the dish very special. Though I don’t prefer Tutti Fruiti, the recipe calls for this, so had to add it. This is also called as the Sweet Saffron Rice.
It was quite an eventful day for me, I was successfully cooked all the dishes I had planned for the day. Boys were so busy with the computer games, they have finally got themselves hooked to games on the system and I almost have to cajole them to let me sit to work. We also visited my friend, who’s got twin girls. They are now six months and I finally went to meet them. The babies were so cute and adorable. My kids wanted to bring them to our home. Aunty also had sent us about 5 mini jackfruits, I wanted to keep few to ripe, a couple for making dry curries and gravy. Now my task is to find recipes to make the dishes!
Zarda Sweet Saffron Rice
Basmati – 2 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Pistachio (chopped) – 6 to 8
Almond (chopped) – 6 to 8
Candied fruits/ murabba / Tutti fruity – handful
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – 2″
Oil or Ghee – 3 tsp
Green cardamoms – 4 to 6
Milk – 1/2 cup
Yellow Food Color Pinch
Saffron Strands few
How to make Zarda:
Wash and soak the basmati rice for 15 mins.
In a pan take sugar and enough water to cover, make syrup. Keep it aside.
Soak the saffron in warm milk, keep it aside.
In another pan put ghee and heat it. Add cinnamon, clove, and cardamom and when it starts smelling then add drained rice and 1 cup of water.
When the water starts drying then add milk, yellow colour. Cover and cook in simmer. Finally, add sugar syrup.
Roast all the dry fruits in ghee and add half of the roasted nuts to the pan.
When the rice is cooked, remove and garnish with rest of the nuts, Tutti fruity.
Since we are doing the traditional theme this week, this recipe suited us just fine! I must thank Suma, Preeti for asking me on that, else I might have ended up making two dishes..:)