Zarda Pulao | Sweet Saffron Rice Recipe

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Zarda Pulao is a traditional Sweet Rice Dish made by boiling rice with Saffron, Sugar and Dry Fruits. It is prepared on special ocassions like religious festivals and marriages. Zarda means yellow and this dish gets it colour from Saffron. As Saffron is considered to be heat giving food it is also made in winter. Here we have also used Yellow Food colour to give it a rich Zarda colour. Though this dish is originated from Pakistan it is equally enjoyed in parts of North India, especially Kashmir and Punjab. This is a very filling dish and it is worth making it at least once during winters even without any ocassion!

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1 Cup Basmati Rice
2 Tbsp Raisins
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup + 1 1/4 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
3 Cloves (Laung)
4 Cardamom (Elaichi)
2 Tbsp Shredded Almonds
Pinch Saffron soaked in 2 Tbsp Water
4-5 drops Yellow Food Colour (optional)

For Garnish:

5-7 Green Pistachio Nuts
4-5 Shredded Almonds

Serves: 2-3 people
Preparation time: 5 min
Soaking time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 25 min


1. Wash & Soak Basmati Rice and Raisins for 1 hour in water.
2. In a Pan add Sugar and 1 Cup Water and heat on medium heat stirring constantly till sugar dissolves and water starts to boil. Here we have took 3/4 Cup sugar which is lightly sweet. You can take 1 Cup Sugar if you prefer more sweet. Keep this Syrup aside.
3. In a big Pan or Kadai heat Ghee, Cloves and Cardamom on medium heat for about 10 seconds till Cardamom changes colour.
4. Now add Shredded Almonds and soaked Raising and cook for about 1 min.
5. Add Soaked Rice and mix gently not to break the rice. Cook for about 1 min and then add 1 1/4 Cup Water, Saffron and Yellow Food Colour. Rub the saffron lightly while putting it in Kadai to extract the colour. Mix well and cook on high heat till water starts to boil. Once water starts boiling reduce flame to low and cover the Kadai. Cook for 10 min or till water gets absorbed.
6. Once rice water gets absorbed add Sugar Syrup and let it boil till Water in the rice reduces to very less. Keep stirring in between to avoid rice sticking. Once water is reduced to very less cover the Kadai and cook for 1-2 min till water completely dries up.
7. Once done garnish with Green Pistachio Nuts and Shredded Almonds and serve hot!

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Zarda-Pulao-Sweet-Saffron-Rice-Magic-of-Indian-Rasoi-Priya R

Zarda-Pulao-Sweet-Saffron-Rice-Magic-of-Indian-Rasoi-Priya R

Zarda-Pulao-Sweet-Saffron-Rice-Magic-of-Indian-Rasoi-Priya R