A rich dessert preparation made with rice, sugar and saffron; this take on Zarda Sweet Rice is made in the Instant Pot and has some added pineapple.
Tropical, delicious and easy to make; this recipe is a must-have for festive season and beyond!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Authentic Royal Foods. All opinions are mine alone.
What is Zarda Sweet Rice or Meethe Chawal?
A traditional recipe of sweet rice popular in India and Pakistan; Zarda is a preparation made with rice, sugar, nuts and saffron.
The name Zarda comes from the Persian word Zard meaning yellow. Zafrani pulao or Meethe chawal as the recipe is also known is great as a dessert for any meal.
From Diwali to Lohri and Holi, this preparation is quite easy to make and always delicious.
What rice is BEST for the recipe?
Rice is a popular ingredient in Indian cooking. It is used in a wide number of sweets too. Basmati is the rice of choice for SO many recipes in Indian cooking.
For the longest time I have been using Royal Basmati for my recipes and it always works really well.
From stove top recipes or Jeera Rice and Pulao to Instant Pot versions of the same; I truly trust this rice for my dishes.
Fragrant, long and great in texture, this is my go-to for sweet dishes like kheer and Zarda too.
What is special in this recipe?
The traditional version of Zarda is made on the stove top. This version is made in the Instant Pot.
The advantage of making it in the Instant Pot is that it is almost a dump and start recipe with ZERO monitoring! The rice cooks well and each grain remains separate after cooking.
Plus, I added some canned pineapple chunks and pineapple juice to the recipe. This gives the rice a tropical flavor and a great bite from the pineapples. The nuts and pineapple go PERFECTLY with each other.
How to get it right each time?
The recipe is fairly easy and comes together pretty quickly. With rice, sugar, ghee and nuts being the most important ingredients; saffron helps make it yellow.
Once you have all these ingredients, the recipe is a breeze!
However, here are a couple of points I would say. First; toast the nuts and raisins well in ghee. It helps enhance the flavor and taste. Remove them after toasting and ensure they do not burn.
Next, be careful while toasting the rice. The rice will burn if it is unattended for a while. Keep stirring to ensure equal toasting.
I added ice cubes to enhance the flavor and color of saffron. A lot of recipes call for warm milk. That will work too. There are sources that say saffron might burn with hot milk and so I like to use ice instead.
If you would like your rice bright in color, add some yellow food color. I have not added any color to this recipe.
Add the pineapple chunks last to the recipe and do not stir. Stirring might cause pineapple to stick to the base or sides of the Instant Pot and give a burn warning.
Fluff the rice with a fork after opening the instant pot.
Mawa and milk are often added to the recipe. They make the rice richer and can be added along with the other ingredients.
Add saffron strands to a mortar pestle and lightly crush them.
Place a couple of ice cubes on it and let them melt.
Start the Instant Pot in Sauté mode and wait till the display reads Hot.
Add ghee and heat it. Next add sliced almonds, cashews, black and gold raisins.
Once the raisins are plump and the nuts slightly brown, remove and set aside.
In the remaining ghee in the pot add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and mace. Sauté for a few seconds till fragrant.
Add washed and drained rice and toast for a 2-3 minutes.
Pour in water and saffron infused water. Add the sugar and pineapple juice. Mix well.
Place the pineapple chunks on top.
Close the instant pot lid and press cancel. Set mode to pressure cook and time to 4 minutes.
Let the pressure release for 5 minutes and release the remaining pressure manually.
Open the lid and fluff the rice. Add the toasted nuts and raisins.
Serve topped with saffron strands and rose petals.
More Indian Desserts
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Pineapple Zarda Sweet Rice/ Meethe Chawal
- Add saffron strands to a mortar pestle and lightly crush them.
- Place a couple of ice cubes on it and let it melt.
- Start the Instant Pot in Sauté mode and wait till the display reads Hot.
- Add ghee and heat it. Next add sliced almonds, cashews, black and gold raisins.
- Once the raisins are plump and the nuts slightly brown, remove and set aside.
- In the remaining ghee in the pot add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and mace. Sauté for a few seconds till fragrant.
- Add washed and drained rice and toast for a 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in water and saffron infused water. Add the sugar and pineapple juice. Mix well.
- Place the pineapple pieces on top.
- Close the instant pot lid and press cancel. Set mode to pressure cook and time to 4 minutes.
- Let the pressure release for 5 minutes and release the remaining pressure manually.
- Open the lid and fluff the rice. Add the toasted nuts and raisins.
- Serve topped with saffron strands and rose petals.