Zarda is a sweetish rice which has its origins in the Mughal era! A delightful & flavorsome dish which tastes amazing!
While growing up in Delhi, I had a friend in school from Lucknow. He spoke the most beautiful Hindi and brought the best kababs and biryanis in his school lunch box. Along with the kababs, he would also bring “Zarda”, the yellow color sweet rice with dry fruits and tutti fruity in it for Holi and for Eid. It used to be a delight digging into that yummy rice.
While I start reading and researching for what to post for the “Lucknow/Awadhi Recipes” this month, Zarda was the first thing in my mind. I knew I had to recreate the magic of my childhood, the aroma and the excitement of opening that “lunch box” and fighting for every bite we could get.
Zarda is essentially a sweet rice which has it’s origins coming from Mughals. There are versions of this available all through the the areas of India which had been touched in some ways by the Mughals. Most of the recipes I read on the net didn’t have tutti fruity in it, however I have gone and added them since the memory of Zarda for me always had them. It is amazing how a childhood memory comes back to you when you read books. Especially food memories.
It is like how I keep recollecting all the Enid Blyton books I have read every time I come across the recipe of scones 🙂 Or I think of the yummy breakfast which my grandmom used to make with simple wheat flour and gud, called meetha gud ka cheela. Food is always attached to nostalgia and the more I think about it, the most amazing memories I have about growing up, all revolve around food!
Lucknow/Awadhi Recipes : Zarda
- 1/2 cup Basmati Rice
- 1/4 cup milk
- strands saffron
- 2 tbsps raisins
- 2 tbsps cashew
- 1/2 tbsp pistachio flakes
- 1 tbsp tutti fruity
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 pod cardamom
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Pinch salt
- 2 tbsps sugar
- Wash and soak basamati rice in water for an hour.
- In the broad pan boil, water, 1/4 cup of milk along with saffron, cinnamon stick, cardamom pod and bay leaf and pinch of salt.
- Drain the soaking rice and add to the boiling mixture. Boil till the rice is about 90% done and fluffy. Drain the water and using a fork gently separate the grains.
- In a kadhai, heat 1 tbsp of ghee and roast all the nuts and currants in it. After the nuts are lightly browned, add the tbsp sugar and let it dissolve for a minute.
- Add the rice and stir gently. Cook covered for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot.