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Meethe Chawal Recipe

Meethe Chawal or the sweet pulao is considered one of the most auspicious dishes in Punjabi Cuisine. Learn how to make zarda pulao in few simple steps. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 458kcal
Author: Hina Gujral


  • Heavy Bottom Kadhai


Ingredients For Cooking Rice:

  • 1 Cup long grain basmati rice
  • an inch stick of cinnamon (dal chini)
  • 4 cloves (laung)
  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 4 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron (kesar)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

Ingredients For Meethe Chawal:

  • ¼ Cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 tablespoon cashews (kaju)
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins (kishmish)
  • 2 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoon sliced pistachio
  • ½ Cup milk
  • Cup sugar or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron

Ingredients For Garnish:

  • 1 teaspoon edible rose petals


How To Make Rice:

  • Clean, wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes in water.
  • In a large saucepan, add soaked rice, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt, saffron strands, turmeric powder, and water. Stir to combine. 
  • Cook till the rice is parboiled (halfway cooked through). Turn off the heat. Drain the water from the cooked rice and let it sit on a metal colander. Remove the whole spices. 

How To Make Meethe Chawal:

  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottom wide skilet.
  • Fry the dry fruits for 5 - 10 seconds in the ghee and transfer half of them to a bowl.
  • Add milk over the remaining dry fruits, stir and cook for 1 - 2 minutes or till it reduces a bit in quantity. 
  • Next, add the prepared rice and spread it evenly. 
  • Add sugar, fried dry fruits, and saffron strands. Close the skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the rice to cook and absorb the flavor of aromatics at the lowest heat.
  • Cook the rice this way for 5 - 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. And do not open the lid of the skillet until you are ready to serve the sweet pulao.
  • Open the lid of the pan, gently fluff the rice using a fork and garnish with rose petals. 
  • Serve Meethe Chawal or Zarda pulao warm.



  • Always make sure to use long grain good quality basmati rice for making the zarda.
  • While cooking rice for zarda, make sure it is not mushy or sticky. Hence, it is best to cook it in a wide heavy bottom saucepan.
  • After cooking the rice for sweet pulao, allow it to sit on a colander for a few minutes to drain all the water from the rice. This step helps in making a perfectly fluffy zarda.
  • Many recipes suggest adding food color, but I stick only to saffron and a tiny bit of turmeric.
  • To make Zarda pulao more rich and indulgent, one can add grated khoya (mawa), orange zest, fried coconut, edible rose petals, and chironji.
  • You can store leftover zarda in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days. 
  • You can reheat zarda pulao in a microwave. 


Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg