There are several variants of Zarda to choose from, but on the day I decided to prepare Zarda there was an unexpected lack of almost all necessary ingredients! And it was also my first attempt of making Zarda by myself - before I was only an eater:) But Zarda was so much awaited and I knew no excuses could be accepted;) - it must have been done soever!
So I called for help my fantasy and used prunes and dried apricots instead of dates and raisins (as per classic recipe), sweet condensed milk and almost no coloring - not rough changes so it was Zarda anyway;)
Caution:) Zarda is a really very-very sweet dish, so if you have to avoid sugar because of health problems (e.g. for diabetics) I would not recommend it.
Very simple ingredients and fast to make.
Below is a classic recipe with all proper ingredients for 8 persons...
~1kg basmati rice, soaked in plenty of water for at least 1 hour
~900g sugar (as always I use cane sugar)
~1/4 tsp yellow food colouring
~3 tbsp oil
~200g mixed fruit and nuts (raisins, pistachos, almonds, chopped dates)
~10 green ~cardamom seeds
~cream or ricotta cheese
~1/2 tsp kewra essence (rose water)
~225g Khoya (unsweetened condensed milk)
METHOD OF PREPARATION
1. Fill a large pan half full of water then add the food colouring, half the cloves and half the cardamom seeds.
2. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost done (about 25 minutes). Drain and set aside in a colander over the sink.
3.Add oil to a large pan and fry the remaining cloves and cardamom seeds on low heat.
4. Add the rice and sugar. Mix well, then cover and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.
5. Add the khoya and dried fruit, stir well and allow heat through.
6.Take off the heat, add the kewra essence and serve warm.