Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meethe Chawal (sweet saffron rice)-- Happy Basant Panchami

सरस्वती नमस्तेभ्यम वर्देही कामरूपिणी
विश्वरूपी विशालाक्षी विद्यां देहि सरस्वती
Basant Panchmi meaning the fifth day of spring is celebrated throughout India to mark the end of winter. This day is dedicated to goddess Saraswati who showers the wealth of knowledge. To welcome spring the color yellow plays an important role. Everyone wears yellow colored clothes, offer yellow flowers and make yellow food colored with kesar (saffron). The fields are covered with mustard crop and its yellow flowers spread a radiance of gold all over, enhanced by the golden rays of sun.

Since childhood I remember this day as the yellow day and also as the day when we had meethe chawal or sweet saffron rice. Now every year I make them on this day so that my girls become a part of this beautiful and simple ritual. So here goes my version of this dish. Happy Basant Panchami everyone.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 cups plain steamed basmati rice
pinch saffron
1 tsp milk
1/2-3/4 cups sugar
1 large carrot grated
1/3 cup each golden raisins and sliced almonds
1 tbsp oil
1tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3-4 whole cloves
2-3 pieces whole cinnamon
6-8 chooti elaichi (green cardamom)
2-3 drops pure almond extract(or vanilla extract if you prefer)
  1. Soak saffron in milk and keep aside 
  2. In a large pan heat oil and ghee, add cloves and cinnamon. 
  3. Add the raisins, almonds and grated carrot. Stir for 3-4 minutes till carrots become a bit tender. 
  4. Now add the rice and saffron and mix well. You will see the beautiful golden color in the rice from the saffron and carrots. On medium heat stir for about 3-4 minutes till all the flavours blend together. 
  5. Take out all the seeds from the green cardamom and crush into fine powder. 
  6. Add sugar and cardamom powder along with almond extract and mix for 1-2 minutes till the sugar blends with the rice. 
  7. Serve hot and enjoy.

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