When it comes to adding sweet conclusions to the wedding menu, Zarda is a favorite item that effortlessly satisfies both a sweet tooth and a taste craving. It not only looks captivating in that zard or dark yellow color with nuts and tiny gulab jamuns scattered all over it, but also tastes heavenly with a mild sweet aroma and taste. Those wishing to cook Zarda for themselves will find the rice preparation similar to biryani cooked with the same basmati rice. The rice after being cooked with whole spices and food coloring is mixed and fused with the flavors of ghee roasted dried fruits and milk. The delicious heirloom is ready with simple steps and a moderate duration.
Zarda’s Sweet Legacy
Zarda is part of the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent which is a dish of boiled sweet rice cooked in milk, flavored with saffron, milk and sugar, and flavored with cardamom, raisins, pistachios or almonds. A little about the word Zarda, which is derived from the Persian word Zard which means yellow, because of the orange color of rice due to saffron or its food color. This sweet dish is popularly served as a dessert in Muslim weddings and eaten in dawats and festive occasions with main meals.
The origin of Zarda cannot be attributed directly to the Mughal era, but Emperor Shahjahan worshiped it and it was cooked for him. At that time, Zarda contained small fried pieces of sweets called Mutanjan. One can use a variety of dried fruits in zarda or as desired and the amount of sugar can also be adjusted according to one’s taste. Saffron can also be used in place of food coloring to achieve the aromatic flavor and soothing color.
Here is Zarda’s recipe.
Preparation: 45 minutes
Cooking: 25-30 minutes
- 300g basmati rice
- 2-3 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- A pinch of food coloring
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup ghee
- 1 ½ tbsp almonds (sliced)
- 1 ½ tablespoon cashews (sliced)
- 1 ½ tbsp pistachios (sliced)
- 1 ½ inch cinnamon stick (2 pieces)
- 4 cloves
- 4 crushed cardamom pods
- 200g sugar
- ½ cup of milk
- Small gulab jamuns
- Rinse the rice thoroughly and let it soak for half an hour.
- Then cook the rice in about 750 ml of water, with 2 cardamom pods, 2-3 cloves, food coloring and salt.
- Boil the rice until 80% cooked, drain the remaining water and keep the rice in a colander so that the excess water drips off.
- Take a pan and heat the ghee in it, add dried fruits to it and lightly roast them and take out half of the ghee in a small bowl. Leave the other half of the dried fruit in the pan.
- Then add the whole spices, roast until aromatic and add sugar to them.
- Immediately add the milk and cook until the sugar dissolves and the milk comes to a boil.
- Then add the cooked rice and mix well with the milk and dried fruit, and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Then cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Take Zarda out onto a plate and garnish it with the remaining dried fruits, khoya and tiny gulab jamuns.
One can use a variety of dried fruits in zarda or as desired and the amount of sugar can also be adjusted according to one’s taste. Saffron can also be used in place of food coloring to achieve the aromatic flavor and soothing color.