Saturday, 29 August 2015

Zardah / Sweet Yellow Rice.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Random question. What do you like about growing old?

I mean, let's face it. None of us are actually getting any younger. How weird is that? Typing that, I realised how true it is. And, it seems that nobody likes getting any older. On Thursday, I spent a few hours with my cousins. S is getting married this weekend and R was busy baking and assembling the cake.


The kitchen was full of cake tins, cupcakes and fondant. Outside, the delicious scent of baking welcomed everyone in. What does this have with growing old, you ask?

 Well, as I was photographing everything in sight, I came across the cake batter bowl. It was empty now of course, its cake batter (made with 48 ounces of flour and 24 eggs no less) having been baked earlier. But you guys know me. The best bit of a cake, for me, is the batter. Always has been and always will be. Anyway, I helped out by scraping out said bowl with a spoon and eating the raw batter. It was delicious - flavoured with vanilla and completely gluten-free.

So again, you ask, what does this have to do with growing old? Well, my mother was given me the glare from across the kitchen as I proceeded to clean out the bowl. 

Later, she told me off. I laughed and reminded her of when we were both younger. She would only let me have one lick of the baking spoon when we baked together. No matter how much I whined and whinged, the raw egg excuse always came up. "You're going to get a stomach ache", she said.

Well now, I'm old(er) and the batter is still the best bit of any bake. My mother still tells me off though. But not as much. I think growing old has its perks. Being responsible for any cake-batter induced stomach aches is one.
{As I type this recipe, I'm sucking on the blue raspberry one <---- highly recommend. I've had a sore throat for the past few days. My mother is telling me off. Will I ever learn?}
And, I hear you asking again. What does this story have to do with zardah? For those of you not familiar with this sweet yellow rice, it's a classic Pakistani sweet dish. Our family usually always serves this with pulao. And, as we discovered when we were much younger, together on the same plate, they are the ultimate sweet + salty combo.

Zardah was always a mystery to me when I was younger. How was it so yellow? How was it sweet? The secrets to this classic recipe were revealed to me this week, and I'm so happy to be sharing them all with you today.
So, here you go guys, my Mother's recipe for Zardah:

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Basmati Rice
2. Water
3. Green Cardamoms

4. Yellow Food Colouring
5. Sugar
6. Orange
7. Green Raisins
8. Glace Cherries
9. Butter

Bismillah, let's begin!

First, we will par-boil the rice. Take 320 grams Basmati Rice. Rinse the rice in a few changes of water until the water runs clear not cloudy.

Soak the rice in enough water to cover it for 30 minutes.

To par-boil the rice, fill a deep pan with 1 litre and 140ml (or enough water to cover the rice by 2 inches). 

Grab a favourite in most Pakistani sweet treats --> green cardamoms.

Take 4 Green Cardamoms and crack them open slightly.

Add the cardamoms to the water and bring it to the boil.

Meanwhile, take Yellow Food Colouring. My mother has always used this powdered one but a liquid one would work too.
{Sometimes Zardah is coloured with many different colours. If you want to do this, don't colour the rice now. Rather, add the food colour later before the rice goes on to steam (dum). After it's steamed, gently stir the rice to get the colours going.}

For the powdered food colour, place a little (about 1/2 teaspoon) in a bowl.

Pour in a little water.

Give it a stir. We mix it with a little water just so we can see the colour and adjust if needed.

At this point, the water should be nearly boiling.

Once you're happy with the colour, pour it into the water.

Once the water is boiling, drain the rice.

And, add the rice to the water.

Once the rice is in, bring the water to the boil again.

Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 7 minutes.
To check whether the rice is done, take a little out and feel it with your fingers. The rice grain should break but still have a little resistance to it.


When the rice is at this stage, we like to take out the cardamom pods.


Drain the rice.


And, set aside for later.


Now that the rice is done, it's time to make the sugar syrup. First, we will prepare the dried fruit. You can use any fruit you like but we begin with green raisins.


Take 90 grams Green Raisins. Remove any stalks.


Next up, glace cherries.


Take 100 grams Glace Cherries.


Give both fruits a rinse. This is to clean it and get rid of any sticky syrup.


Cover the fruit with water and leave it soak until needed. We do this to plump up the fruit.


Now, on to the actual sugar syrup. Take a deep pan and place over a medium heat.


Pour in 185ml Water.


Once the water is in ...


.. it's time to sweeten things up with plenty of sugar. This is a sweet rice after all.


Take 200 grams Sugar.
Regarding how much sugar you add, there are many options.
- 1 and 1/2 times sugar to rice.
- equal amounts of sugar and rice.
- 1/2 part sugar to 1 part rice.
- 3/4 part sugar to 1 part rice <-- we did this so that the rice was sweet but not too sweet. 


Add the sugar to the water in the pan.


Give it a stir and bring to the boil.


Once boiling, cook over a medium heat.


Cook until the sugar dissolves and the syrup becomes clear and sticky.


Next, grab 1 medium Orange.


Zest it.


And, add to the pan. This step is completely optional but we like it because the orange gives the rice a lovely flavour.


Next, drain the water from the fruit and add the fruit to the pan.



Stir and cook for 1 minute on the medium heat until the fruit plumps up a little.


Next, butter! Or ghee, if you're into that sort of thing.


Take 125 grams Butter.


Add to the pan.


Keep stirring until the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, it's time for the rice.


Add the rice to the pan.


Once the rice is in ..

.. gently stir in the rice.


Still over the medium heat, let the water/moisture dry out for 1 minute.


Do you see those little bubbles? That is the moisture. 


After a minute, it's time to steam the rice.


Cover the rice with a tight lid and place the heat on the lowest.


Let the rice steam for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the rice.


And, try some. If you feel it could steam longer, let it go a for a few more minutes.


When you're happy with the rice, it's done.


Give it a gentle toss.

And, serve up!



Serve the rice as it is or sprinkle over chopped nuts and more dried fruit. Enjoy!

Full Written Recipe:


Zardah / Sweet Yellow Rice.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes.
Cook Time: About 30 minutes.
Serves: About 8-10 people.

Ingredients

For Par-Boiling the Rice
320 grams Basmati Rice
1 litre and 140 ml Water (or enough water to cover the rice by 2 inches)
4 Green Cardamoms, cracked a little
Yellow Food Colour Powder, as needed

For the Sugar Syrup
185ml Water
200 grams Sugar
Zest of 1 medium Orange
90 grams Green Raisins, stalks removed
100 grams Glace Cherries
125 grams Butter

Method

First, par-boil the rice. Wash the basmati rice in a few changes of water until the water runs clear and not cloudy. Leave the rice to soak in enough water to cover it for 30 minutes.

Take a deep pan and pour in the 1 litre and 140ml water (or enough water to cover the rice). Add the green cardamoms and bring the water to the boil.
Whilst the water boils, mix the yellow food colouring with a little water until you get the colour you want. Pour it into the pan.

Once the water is boiling, drain the rice. Add it to the pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 7 minutes.
To check whether the rice is done, take a little out and feel it with your fingers. The rice grain should break but still have a little resistance to it.

Take out the cardamom pods. Drain the rice and set aside for later.

Next, to make the sugar syrup. First, prepare the dried fruit. Place the raisins and cherries in a bowl. Remove any stalks and give them a rinse. Soak in water until needed.

Take a deep pan. Place over a medium heat and pour in 185ml water and add in the sugar. Give it a stir. Bring to the boil. Cook over the medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is sticky and clear.

Next, add the orange zest. Drain the dried fruit and add them in too. Stir and cook for 1 minute on the medium heat until the fruit plumps up a little.

Next, add in the butter. Keep stirring until it melts.

Once melted, add in the rice. Gently stir in the rice, let the water dry out a little for 1 minute and then cover with a lid. Leave to steam over the lowest heat for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, try a little rice. If it’s soft, it’s done. If you feel it could do with longer, let it go for a few more minutes.

Give the rice a gentle stir and serve! If you want, garnish the zardah with chopped nuts and more dried fruit. Enjoy!

Your Photos:

This Time One Year Ago:

This Time Two Years Ago:

Keep me in your duas, please. And, enjoy your zardah,

Wasalaam!

12 comments

  1. Hi! I wanted to make 500gms of rice,how much sugar should i add? By the way thank you for step by step instructions esp. with the photos of what it should look like on various stages. I have tried a few of your curry recipes. They taste great! Thanks in advance! Saleha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Saleha! For 500 grams rice, we would add about 380 grams sugar. But as the recipe says, it all depends as to how sweet you like your zardah. We normally do 3/4 part sugar to 1 part rice. Thank you for your kind words - I'm so glad you like my blog! :)

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  2. Hi I tried this recipe. Everything was good except the rice was overcooked. I think in future I will not soak the rice

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Glad you enjoyed the Zardah - you could also reduce the steaming until the rice is cooked to your liking! :)

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  3. This has to be the easiest sweet rice ecipe to follow I've ever come across....thank you for making cooking so enjoyable and fun xx it would be good to see other pakistani sweet dishes on here as I have learnt so much from your blog...keep them coming xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed the rice! :)

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  4. Assalamualikum sister jazakAllah.for the step by step recipe just wanted to ask how many cups will the rice be ? And to make suger syrup how much cups for suger and water plz if u dont mind may ALLAH shower you with more blessings .

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    Replies
    1. Wa alaikumus salaam! So glad you enjoyed the step-by-step. It would be 2 cups rice, 1 cup water and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar. You can do more or less sugar, to taste.

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  5. Tried this and it turned out perfect ! Jzk for sharing recipie with step by step instructions. Bless you sister... thank you

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    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed the rice! Thank you for all your kind words!

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  6. Salaam sister! Do I have to add the cherries and raisins or is this optional?

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