I stopped being a perfectionist long ago. But still now and then I want to be a perfectionist. The dish which I am sharing today has triggered this perfectionist issue. Do not worry its simple but only if you follow my ammi's recipe.
The problem is I am trying to master my mom in law's recipe.Its easy but complicated after a certain step because my rice becomes erect like a broken glass meaning cracks.Achieved the taste but not the texture. and that's important for this dish. Its been years now trying to master this simplest sweet but still no results. And back to square one.but again keeping my hopes high for the next trial. Till then, let me share with you all my ammi's simple zarda recipe with no burdens of failure.
ZARDA gets its name from an Urdu & Persian word 'Zard' meaning yellow. In simple terms it is a sweet rice with nuts and flavors of cardamom & saffron or cardamom & Kewra water.
You will find this sweet dish in many muslim wedding menus specially in Gujarat. It's been nearly ten years, I have attended any wedding so don't know whether these days they are still serving or the trends have changed. hehe. But ten years back, a large platter we call thaal was placed in the middle (this was for 4, 6 to 8 people depending on the size of thaal) and Zarda was the first dish to be served. Yes sweets were served first & then came the main course. Don't know the reason but this is how it is done in Gujarat. First sweets later comes the savory.
There are many version of zarda depending on the region. Like in Iran rose water & saffron are the main flavors. While in mid-east you will find it flavored with Orange Blossom water & orange or lemon zest. Sometimes a single fruit or multiple fruits like pineapple , apple, pomegranate & grapes are added but that will be another dish named mutanjan which I will share later.
To prepare this you need only a few things like rice, sugar, some nuts, cardamoms and you are good to go.
Serves: 3 -4
1/3 cupBasmati Rice soaked for 10 minutes
2 glass water for boiling the rice
1/2 tsp salt
few drops or yellow color
1 tbsp pure ghee
4 tbsp sugar ( can be increased or decreased as per your taste)
2 tbsp mix of chopped nuts like cashew, almond, raisins
1/8 tsp coconut powder
1 -2 cardamoms powdered
few strands of saffron
1 tbsp of water
- In a deep bottom pan, boil the water, yellow color & salt. Once it starts bubbling, add in rice & cook it till fully done. Strain & keep aside
- In a pan heat the ghee. add in cardamom & clove.Once it crackles add in the nuts & fry till lightly toasted. Remove the pan from the flame & add in coconut powder. Keep aside
- In pestle & mortar crush together cardamom & saffron. keep aside
Assembling boiled rice, nut cooked in ghee, sugar & cardamom saffron powder
- In a pan ( you can take the same pan in which rice has been cooked) spread the layer of rice
- Sprinkle the sugar on the layer of rice followed by nuts & cardamom saffron powder
- Spread the second layer of rice following the same step.
- Lastly sprinkle the 1 tbsp of water on the layered rice.
- Cover with tight lid & put it on dum on a slow flame for 10 minutes.
- Fluff if up with the fork & serve warm.