Zarda is a traditional North Indian/ Pakistani dessert made of rice cooked in sugar syrup. Try adding your finished Zarda to a layer of cooled thickened evaporated milk and cream.
Prep Time

1 hour mins

Cook Time

1-1 hours mins

Total Time

2 hours mins


Varying on size of bowl


  • 1 mug of Laila Basmati Rice
  • Yellow food colouring
  • 1/8 stick of butter/one whole cooking spoon of butter.
  • 2 tbsp water
  • mug sugar
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • Pistachios and Almonds


  • Begin by chopping the almonds and pistachios. This can be a mixture of finely crushed and larger pieces. Set these aside for later use.
  • Soak your rice for an hour in cold water with the yellow food colouring. Add only a pinch of food colouring, not too much.
  • Once the rice has soaked, boil it until it is just cooked. Make sure the rice is not too soft, and still slightly firm. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside.
  • Take out a fresh pan and put it on to heat. Once the bottom has warmed, place the unsalted butter in the pan along with half a mug of sugar.
  • Sprinkle two tablespoons of water on top of this and add the cardamom. This will make the sweet base for the zarda.
  • Put the rice in this and mix it together. After this is mixed, add the saffron and rose water.
  • Put the rice on a low gas and cover with the lid. The rice will now cook completely in here.
  • After fifteen minutes, check the rice. If there is no water left and the sweet base has mixed completely, it is ready. If the rice still feels a bit raw, wet a tea towel slightly and cover the pan with it, placing the lid on top. This will steam the rice.
  • Once it is completely ready, place in a bowl and add the almonds and pistachios to garnish.
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