Meethe Chawal / Sweet Saffron Rice
Hello everyone, Happy New year!!!
It is after 5 months that I am logging in to my blog. Yes, I am all well.
I have been really busy with various responsibilities. We sold our house after living in it for 12 years and moved into a new one that we built ourselves. We knew nothing about building and even though we hired tradesmen to do all the jobs it was a lot of work managing the whole design and construction process. Days were long, stressful and exhausting, and I was overwhelmed in the beginning but supported my husband fully in carrying the project through from start to finish. The result is a home we love and one that reflects our tastes and preferences.
Here are a few pictures (click for a larger view).
Preparing something sweet on every special occasion and in the beginning or completion of a project is part of Indian culture. Since it’s the beginning of the year and with the joy of us moving into a new house I thought a dessert would be fitting. In north Indian cuisine there are several types of desserts and most of them are simply made from readily available items in the pantry.
Meethe chawal is a seductive recipe that I have grown up eating and happens to be the easiest. It is a delicately flavored rice dish, infused with cardamom, saffron, sugar, kewra and spices. Each spice and flavoring contributes to the overall flavor. Almonds, pistachios and currants are added to it for extra bite and adornment. But you can make without nuts and use candied peel instead and also if you can not find kewra essence you can use rosewater or leave it out. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make pretty much any variation and it will turn out delicious and would be perfect for an after meal dessert or a special occasion. In India it is often served at weddings and also found in Gurduwaras (Sikh temples).
To make, it all starts with cooking rice just right so each grain is separate, and set aside. Usually the type of rice used for this dish is called SELLA or SILLA rice. This rice is the type that does not break while cooking. Personally I do not like the taste of Silla rice, so I use the basmati rice but extra care is to be taken while preparing basmati rice otherwise you might end up with a mush or under-cooked rice, rather than fluffy separate grains. Once the rice is partially cooked, saute some cloves, green cardamom in desi ghee ( clarified butter). When that’s done add sugar, saffron and water to make syrup. Then put in the rice, nuts and cook sealed on a very slow heat for 10-12 minutes.
It tastes best when served at room temperature.
Stay tuned for more posts coming in 2016:)
A delicious dessert recipe prepared with rice, dry fruits and saffron which gives it a very nice aroma and color.
- 1 cup basmati rice (soaked for 30 minutes)
- 3 tbsp desi ghee (clarified butter, vegans use coconut oil)
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 cardamoms (remove seeds from pods)
- 3 tbsp milk (vegans use water or nut milk
- 1 pinch kesar (saffron)
- 8-10 blanched almonds, split
- 1 tbsp blanched pistachios, slivered
- 1 tbsp currants
- Few dry coconut slices
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3-4 drops kewra essence
- Variation: Rose water, candied peel, orange blossom water, yellow food coloring
- Toast saffron in a pan on low heat until it darkens to a maroon color and gets fragrant. Crush to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of spoon. Stir in the milk and set aside.
- Put 3 cups water to boil in a pot.
- Once the water boils, add 2 cloves one cardamom and the rice, stir well. Keep the heat medium high (The rice should not settle down and should be always boiling).
- In 5-8 min the rice should be cooked. When checked the grain should feel firm but cooked and each grain should be separate.
- Strain the cooked rice and spread it in a flat dish and allow it to cool.
- In the same pot in which you parboiled the rice heat ghee.
- Add the remaining 2 cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds. Sauté for a minute.
- Then add coconut pieces and stir until it turns slightly golden .
- Now add sugar, 1/4 cup water, saffron milk, currants and nuts ( reserve few for garnish).
- Mix well and when the water starts to bubble, cover with a lid. Let it cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens.
- Gently mix in the partially cooked rice and few drops of kewra essence, cover with a tight fitting lid or (use aluminum foil, crimpled tightly over the top) and lower the heat to lowest possible.
- Cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm garnished with reserved nuts and currants.
Blanching almonds and pistachios - Boil water and pour over nuts Leave for 3-5 minutes. When cool enough to handle squeeze the nut and the kernel will pop out of its skin. Split or sliver.