Meethe Chawal

Meethe Chawal Recipe | Learn how to make Meethe Chawal for Basant Panchami

Sweetened Rice with Nuts and Saffron Basant Panchami Special from North Indian 

Gluten-free and Vegan friendly Rice Dessert

Meethe Chawal

Meethe Chawal a delicious rice preparation from North India, made in Desi Ghee, colored with turmeric, flavoured with spices like saffron, cardamom, with lots of nuts. The dish has lot of variation within the Indian Subcontinent.

Many people make it with sugar and many add jaggery/gur to it for sweetness. Yellow or orange color is also added to give it a more vibrant color. ‘Zarda’ a popular and richer version of this rice, is flavoured with rose water and khoya along with nuts and candied fruits and orange peel is added to it.

Another Savory version  is Zafrani Pulao/Indian Saffron Pulao (vegetarian version), a delicacy from the Royal Kitchens of Awadh and Hyderabad.

Basant Panchami

Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in late January or February. The festival commences forty days before the Spring festival HOLI. (It is generally winter-like in northern India, and more spring-like in central and western parts of India on Vasant Panchami, which gives credence to the fact that Spring is actually in full bloom 40 days after the Vasant Panchami day).

Meethe Chawal as it is popularly known in Northern States of India (Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana) is Basant Panchami special.  Yellow color that signifies vitality, strength, sunlight and happiness is the color of Basant Panchami. Wearing yellow color clothes and having yellow color rice dishes is considered auspicious on this day. People worship Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, on this auspicious day. Namkeen Peele Chawal/ Tahri ( Turmeric Rice Pilaf with seasonal vegetables) is another dish that is popularly prepared on this day. Dishes from other states. Lemon Rice, Moong Dal Halwa, Rava Kesari (Saffron flavored Semolina Pudding) and many more. You can prepare Zafrani Pulao, Gatte Ka Pulao for the occasion. Kadhi Chawal is another favourite that you can make on this auspicious occasion.

Mom always prepared either Meethe Chawal or Tahri during this auspicious day. This is my mom’s recipe. She used to add jaggery with lots of desi ghee and cooked the rice in milk and water(50:50). The nuts are roasted in desi ghee and real flavour of the dish comes from the whole spices(green cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, black peppercorns, saffron) that are added to it. Basmati Rice which is one of the best rice quality and has a distinct aroma is traditionally used to prepare the dish.

Let’s see how I make this delicious, traditional Indian dessert with Rice!!

Detailed Recipe with ingredients and method in Recipe Card

To make the best Meethe Chawal..

  • Soak rice at least half an hour before cooking.
  • Desi Ghee gives the distinct aroma and taste to the dish.
  • Roast nuts in ghee before adding to the rice.
  • Add water/ milk carefully while cooking as the rice can turn mushy if more liquid is added.
  • Don’t overcook and mix rice frequently as it can turn mushy.
  • Use a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai or a non stick pan to avoid the burning of rice.

Meethe Chawal

Basant Panchami Special, Meethe Chawal a delicious rice preparation from North India, prepared in desi ghee, colored with turmeric, flavoured with spices like saffron, cardamom, with lots of nuts. 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rice Soaking time 30 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, North Indian Cuisine
Servings 4


  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Mixed Nuts(Cashew nuts, Almonds, Raisins, Dried Cranberries)
  • 1 tbsp Almonds
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 4-5 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick(small)
  • 1-2 Green Cardamom
  • 10-12 Saffron strands
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Jaggery/Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder


  • Soak saffron strands in milk few hours(minimum 1 hr) before preparing the rice.  
  • Wash rice and soak for at least half an hour before cooking. Roughly chop nuts.  
  • In a thick bottomed pan, add ghee. When ghee is warm enough, add the whole spices, roast for a few seconds, then add nuts to it and roast till they give the aroma.
  • Next add crushed jaggery, let it melt, then add rice to it. Add turmeric powder and mix well.
  • Mix nicely and then add saffron milk and water as required to cook rice. 
  • Cover and keep the rice on medium flame and cook till the rice becomes soft and grains appear long and separated. 
  • Take off the flame and keep covered for few minutes.  Serve hot.


For Vegan Version, use Almond Milk or skip milk and add only water.
Keyword Basant Panchami recipes, Meethe Chawal, Rice recipes

Do try this delicious Meethe Chawal Recipe for Basant Panchami or any of your special and auspicious occasion. I am sure you and your  special ones will surely love it.

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Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

8 thoughts

  1. Meethe chawal looks very pretty and perfect for Basant Panchami. Though the yellow rice custom is not prevalent in our families, I heard about this tradition in our local temple here.

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