With a month long Marathon, I knew all were busy, but yet I was waiting for our monthly Indian Cooking Challenge. Valli thought of skipping, but I was keen, this is the time to cook some traditional food!…Well we decided on a simple, quick dish from Kashmir .Zarda!
Incidentally This happens to be my weekend cooking too…This Sunday, my kitchen was closed as we ordered some Gujrati meal from outside.I planned to cook some nice parathas for dinner, but that programme also got cancelled as the grand kids came in and we ordered pizzas.So with no cooking, I did my ICC …The lovely Zarda!!Let’s see what Valli and Champa have cooked over this weekend.
Zarda is basically sweet rice.Now what is the difference between a Zarda and a Pulao?Meetha Pulao is when we cook rice, and when it is nearly done, add sugar and simmer, where as in Zarda we need to prepare a sugar and water syrup and add this to the nearly cooked rice.This has to be dum cooked!!
The taste definitely varies, Zarda is much richer and heavier than the Kashmiri Meetha Pulao.We Sindhi’s make a similar version called Tahiri. Now this too is sweet rice, but I shall tell you about these some other time.
2 cups Basmati rice
¼ tsp Cardamom powder
2 tbsp ghee
1 cup sugar
Almonds, Pistachios, Raisins, walnuts
½ cup milk
In a pan , make a syrup with sugar and just enough water to cover.
Add dissolved saffron.
Roast all the dry fruits in ghee.
Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes.
Heat ghee and add the rice to it.
Saute’ till there is no moisture left.
Add cardamom powder.
Add 1 cup water.
Let the rice cook, without stirring.
Add the sugar syrup and milk.
Add half the roasted dry fruits, and cook on slow fire with dum or weight on the pan.
There should be no moisture and the rice should be cooked.
How ever at times the rice is still hard, just add some milk or water and cook till done.
Serve hot, with the reserved dry fruits.
The addition of cinnamon and cloves, gives a wonderful flavor to the rice, but somehow my family prefers it without them.
I have added cardamon powder to the rice and whole, slightly crushed ones have been roasted in ghee along with the dry fruits.
Kashmiri’s are very fond of walnuts in their cuisine,and they give a wonderful flavor to the rice.
A pinch of yellow food color is added to the Zarda, but I avoid using colors, so used only saffron, which gave the rice a very mild color.
Zarda is a wonderful, rice preparation, very rich and can be enjoyed without any accompaniments.For some more authentic Kashmiri recipes , check here.