zarda recipe, meethe chawal recipe, zarda pulao recipe, sweet rice recipe
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5 from 4 votes

zarda recipe

zarda recipe or meethe chawal or zarda pulao is a fragrant sweet pulao made with rice, dry fruits and saffron.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: desserts, sweets
Cuisine: north indian
Servings: 3
Calories: 418kcal
Author: Dassana Amit


for cooking rice

  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • enough water for soaking rice
  • 5 to 6 cloves
  • teaspoon saffron or 3 to 4 pinches saffron (kesar)
  • 1 cup water for pressure cooking rice

other ingredients for zarda recipe

  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¾ teaspoon green cardamom powder (choti elaichi powder)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 almonds (badam) - chopped or sliced
  • 8 cashews (kaju) - chopped or sliced
  • 8 pistachios (pista) - chopped or sliced
  • 10 to 12 raisins or add as required


pressure cooking rice for zarda recipe

  • rinse ½ cup basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. then soak basmati rice for 30 minutes in enough water. after 30 minutes drain all the water and keep rice aside.
  • in a 2 litre pressure cooker, pour 1 cup water.
  • add ⅛ teaspoon saffron strands (3 to 4 pinches).
  • with a spoon stir, so that the saffron strands mix with water.
  • then add ½ cup rice and 5 to 6 cloves. you can even add 7 to 9 cloves if you want.
  • pressure cook for 2 whistles or for about 6 to 7 minutes on medium flame.
  • once the pressure settles down, then open the lid and check the rice if its cooked. the rice just need to be cooked. gently fluff the rice.

making zarda

  • in a heavy kadai or pan, add 3 tablespoons ghee.
  • with a spoon or spatula spread ghee on all sides of the pan. this is done so that the rice grains do not stick to the pan when cooking.
  • add the cooked rice in the pan.
  • add ½ cup sugar.
  • sprinkle ¾ teaspoon cardamom powder. you can also add 1 teaspoon cardamom powder for a pronounced cardamom aroma.
  • mix well but gently, so that the sugar gets mixed evenly with cooked rice grains.
  • on a low flame or low heat, cook the zarda pulao mixture. you will see the sugar melting and some liquid consistency in pulao.
  • stir the zarda pulao mixture occasionally.
  • cook till the sugar solution dries up. after cooking, if in case the rice grains feel hard or dense, then cover the pan with a damp cloth or cotton napkin. cover with a lid and cook zarda pulao for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • once there is no liquid consistency, then add 8 pistachios (sliced), 8 almonds (sliced) and 8 cashews (sliced). mix well and switch off the flame. if adding raisins, then you can add at this step.
  • serve zarda pulao hot or warm. alternatively you can spread zarda a large plate and then serve. garnish zarda pulao with some cashews, raisins, almonds and pistachios while serving.



  • the recipe can be doubled or tripled.
  • you can use a neutral flavored oil instead of ghee. 
  • add dry fruits of your choice. 
  • if you want you can add a bit of orange or yellow natural color extract. 


Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.8mg