Zarda Pulao | Meethe Chawal Recipe | Sweet Rice | Yellow Rice

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Basant Panchami is celebrated all over India, but in North, especially Punjab, it is celebrated with full fervor. People wear yellow colored clothes because yellow color is associated with blooming of the mustard crop. Sweetened saffron rice or halwa is made during this day.

Meethe Chawal / Zarda Pulao / Sweet Rice / Yellow Rice / Meethi Bhat are the some of the names of this beautiful and tasty dish.

Meethe Chawal / Yellow sweet rice is a traditional Punjabi dessert prepared and enjoyed during festivals like Basant Panchami, Diwali, etc., and also served on auspicious occasions like marriage. Basmati rice and sugar syrup are the basic ingredients for Meethe Chawal but it is the carefully chosen assortment of Indian spices like green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and kesar that makes it flavorful and aromatic. The dry fruits make it even more tasty and gives it mouth watering visual appeal. 

What is Meethe Chawal /Zarda Pulao?

Zarda Pulao is a sweet rice preparation were rice is cooked with sugar, saffron and dry fruits. It is made especially for festivals and wedding and is served as dessert.

The work came came from the Persian work Zard, which means yellow. Because this dish is yellow in colour, it was called Zarda Pulao.

And because it is made using all the rich and expensive ingredients, Shahi word is added to it.

Tips to make best Zarda

  • The rice doesn’t cook once sugar is added to it. So make sure the rice is cooked properly before adding sugar to it.
  • But also make sure to not overcook the rice. It will result into a mushy Zarda Pulao.
  • Some people also add green and red food colour to their sweet pulao. However, I like it yellow and stick to using saffron and yellow food colour only.
  • You can also skip adding the yellow food color to Zarda and only stick to Saffron. In this case, soak the saffron over night in milk to get the bright yellow colour.
  • I have read that some people also add orange zest to their sweet pulao. You can try it too. Add 1 tsp orange zest along with the milk.
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5 from 8 votes

Zarda Pulao | meethe chawal recipe | sweet rice | Yellow Rice

Zarda Pulao or Meethe Chawal is a sweet rice preparation, deliciously infused with cardamom and saffron, a family favorite.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert, festivals, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Basant Panchami, meethe chawal, meethi bhat, rice, yellow rice, zarda pulao
Author: Bhawna Maharshi


  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice Soaked for 1/2 hr
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Desi Ghee
  • 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Raisins
  • few drops Yellow Colour
  • few strands of Saffron ( Kesar )
  • few Cashew Nuts , Almonds, Dried Coconut


  • Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

  • Soak Kesar( saffron) in luke warm milk and keep aside.

  • In a pan heat ghee and add dryfruits and saute for a minute take them out and keep aside.

  • Add bay leaf, black cardamom, cloves, cumin in the same ghee and saute for a minute.

  • Now add rice and saute gently for two minutes.

  • Add two cups of water and milk with kesar (saffron) add few drops of lemon yellow colour.

  • Cover and cook on medium flame till the rice are 3/4th cooked.

  • Now make a sugar syrup with one cup water and one cup water .Bring to boil till sugar melts add cardamom powder into it.

  • Now add this sugar syrup into the rice and gently mix.

  • Add dryfruits and raisins. Cover and cook till done.

  • Switch off the flame and keep it covered for five minutes.

  • Zafrani Pulav is ready to serve.



Tips and Variations:
  • Adjust sugar according to your taste.
  • You can also use short grain rice if long grain rice is not available. However short grain rice may form lumps that will make coating each rice with sugar difficult. Follow the tip given below to make separate rice grains.
  • To cook each rice grain separated, 1.rinse the rice 5-6 times in water before cooking. 2. add 1-teaspoon oil while cooking the rice and 3. always cook rice in a pot or pan (do not cook them in pressure cooker).

Cooking with lots of love and straight from the heart.

Bhawna Maharshi

Pans n ovens

9 thoughts on “Zarda Pulao | Meethe Chawal Recipe | Sweet Rice | Yellow Rice”

  1. Urmila says:

    5 stars
    Very good recipe

  2. Anju Sharma says:

    Very easy nd nice recipe.l will surely try it.

  3. Sangeeta sethi says:

    5 stars
    Its really beautiful divine festive recipe . BEAUTIFULLY explained too

  4. Rekha Varsani says:

    5 stars
    Awesome mouthwatering 😋😋

    1. Shalini chitlangia says:

      5 stars
      Awesome recipe..Mind blowing…superb

  5. Namrah says:

    5 stars
    Its tempting.. easiest way to cook zarda

  6. Neeru goyal says:

    5 stars
    Very tempting looking yummy recipe
    My favorite Jarda pulav

  7. Neeru goyal says:

    5 stars
    Very tempting looking yummy recipe
    My favorite Jarda pulav

  8. Mohini Tiwari says:

    5 stars
    Mouthwatering recipe…👌👌👌👌👌

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