By Gulnaz Nazam
Diwali is here and the festival of lights needs a special menu. Festivals are occasions to exchange sweets and many people prefer the traditional desserts. Some, however, want to taste new dishes and do not mind experimenting. For those, here is my Zarda recipe.
Zarda is a yellow-coloured sweet dish made with basmati rice, ghee, spices, sugar and lots of dry fruits, making it a perfect dish for any celebration. It is also known as Zarda Pulao. The name Zarda comes from Persian word zard, which means yellow. It is an essential dish served during Muslim weddings and Eid. But food has no religion and anyone can try this recipe on any festival.
250 gm of basmati rice; 250 gm of sugar; 50 gm of ghee; 100 gm of mawa (optional); a small bowl of chopped dry fruits — almonds, cashew nuts, raisins and dry coconut; spices — 4 pieces of green cardamom, 1 stick of cinnamon, 2 bay leaves, 3 pieces of cloves; yellow food colour; rose water
Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Now boil the rice until it is cooked. Strain the rice with the help of a strainer. Place a pan on the stove, add ghee and then add the spices. Add sugar and a cup of water and stir till the sugar dissolves. Now, add a few drops of the yellow colour and add the cooked rice to it. Stir 2-3 times to coat the rice uniformly. Cover the pan and lower the flame to sim. Let it cook on sim for around 15-20 minutes till the water dries up. After this, add a teaspoon of rose water and switch off the flame. Garnish with dry fruits and mawa and serve.