Zarda – Sweet Rice 

Not many know that my roots belong Nawabi region of India. Yes I belong to Awadh, city of “pehle aap”. In today’s time it is known as Lucknow. Lucknow is a capital cital of largest State of India, located in northern part of India.

Awadhi cuisine is know its zaika, nafaasat and nazaakat. It is considered as cuisine for absolute meat lover but no its more than Raan mussallam, Biryani, Kormas and kebabs.

For today post I could have made any meat recipe, which I normally love, but I picked a dessert called Zarda as my hustand and daughter bith have a sweet tooth.It’s a sweet rice preparation also commonly know as meethi chawal.

Many add fruits in it.. Personally I like pineapple with it.

Zarda is a very traditional awadhi sweet rice dish, in days of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, basant ( spring) was celebrated with lots of fanfare, Zarda played major part of festivity because of its colour.

Zarda is made with long grain rice, sugar and Zaffran. The name Zarda comes from Persian and Urdu word “zard” which means “yellow”. A typical Eid or a wedding dessert.

For my research on Awadhi cuisine, I have read few articles in internet by R.K Saxena author of Dastarkhwan e Awadh.


2 cups rice

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp ghee

3 small elachi

2 cloves

1/2 tsp orange food colour

1 tbsp rosewater

4 tbsp milk

4 tbsp chopped dry fruits

Pinch of salt

Pinch of saffron



Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hours.

To cook rice heat water in large vessel add food colour , rose water and pinch of salt. With water starts to boil add rice to cook.

When rice is 85% cooked drain the excess water and transfer rice in a big bowl, mix sugar with rice  and keep it aside.

In a separate wok heat ghee add small elachi and cloves and fry for a minute ,add  chopped nuts and saute for another minute. If you want you add chopped pineapple and sauté for 2 minutes, then add rice and sugar mix and saute for some time.

Soak saffron in 4 tbsp of warm milk and sprinkle it over the rice and mix well. Reduce the heat and cover rice with lid and put it on dum for 10-12 minutes or till the rice is completely cook.

Before serving sprinkle more dry fruits and serve hot.


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