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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 is added to it.
Meethe Chawal as it is popularly known in Northern States of India (Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana) is Basant Panchami special. Basant Panchami, is an auspicious Hindu festival that marks the end of winters and starting spring in Indian subcontinent. Yellow color that signifies vitality, strength, sunlight and happiness is the color of Basant Panchami. Wearing yellow coloured clothes and having yellow colored 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 Turmeric Rice, Moong Dal Halwa, Rava Kesari(Saffron flavored Semolina Pudding) and many more.
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!!
- 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.
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 the rice as it can turn mushy.
- Use a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai or a non stick pan to avoid the burning of rice.
So do make this traditional Meethe Chawal on any auspicious occasion and perk up your festivities. I will love to see the pics on any of my social media pages..FB or tag me on Instagram(#foodtrails25) whenever your try. You can also Pin the recipe for later use.
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