Sweet Rice with Almonds and Raisins (zarda pulao)


Preparation Time: 5 minutes        

Serves :4          

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

  • 1 cup pearl pishori rice – soaked for 1 hour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp desi ghee or shortening
  • 3 cloves (laung)
  • 4 green cardamoms (chhoti illaichi)
  • 2 tbsp raisins, soaked in water
  • 2 tbsp almonds,blanched & shredded
  • ½ tsp saffron,soaked in 2tbsp warm water or a few drops yellow colour
  • 5-7 green pistachio nuts
  • 1 silver leaf, optional


Soak pearl pishori rice for at least 1 hour. This is important; otherwise sweet rice will not cook properly.

Mix ¾ cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small pan. Keep on fire to boil. Stir in between to dissolve sugar. Remove from fire as soon as it boils and keep aside.

Heat ghee in big heavy bottomed pan. Add green cardamoms and cloves. Cloves fry for few seconds till cardamom changes colour.

Add almonds and raisins. Stir till raisins swell.

Add pearl pishori rice. Mix gently. Add 1 ¼ cups water.

Rub saffron strands to extract colour and add to the pearl pishori rice. In the absence of saffron, add a few drops of yellow colour.

Boil. Reduce flame. Keep a griddle under the pan of pearl pishori rice as soon as it starts to boil to reduce the heat further.

Cook for about 10 minutes till the pearl pishori rice is almost done and the water gets absorbed.

Add the sugar syrup to the cooked pearl pishori rice. Stir the pearl pishori rice gently and cook further for 4-5 minutes till the pearl pishori rice is done.

Garnish with a silver leaf, shredded pistachios & a few whole almonds.