Zarda is a beloved Pakistani, North Indian, and Iraqi dish served in times of celebrations, particularly for eid, weddings, and of course – Mauled al-Nabi. While every region has a varying recipe, the basic dish will be a rich yellow rice dish that is sweet, rich, and topped with nuts and dried fruits. Once you get the hang of it, feel free to add in some other ingredients such as ricotta, heavy cream, saffron, coconut, or cinnamon!
Serving Size: 5
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
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1½ cups basmati rice
5 cardamom pods
¼ cup chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, and/or walnuts)
¼ cup raisins or cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tsp grated orange zest
3 cups water
1 tbsp butter or ghee
¼ teaspoon orange food coloring or ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Add the rice and water to a pot.
- Add cardamom, food colouring/turmeric, butter/ghee to the water. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of butter/ghee over medium heat. Add the sugar, nuts, and raisins to toast for about 5 minutes. Keep warm until the rice is ready.
- When the rice is fully cooked we are ready to assemble! Layer the bottom of a pot with ⅓ of the rice, then add a layer of sugar, and then ⅓ of the nuts and raisins. Repeat until there are no ingredients remaining.
- Finally, cover the pot to steam the zarda for 10-15 minutes. When completed, mix all the elements together and serve hot!