Zarda Pulav Recipe (Rice Flavoured With Nuts And Saffron)

Zarda Pulav is a rice dessert that is not kheer but exquisite nevertheless. An easy to make fragrant sweet and nutty pilaf that is a must have on special occasions or to simply to enjoy during monsoons or winters.  Saffron strands, Milk, Basmati rice, Bay leaf (tej patta), Black cardamom (Badi Elaichi), Ghee, Cloves (Laung), Cardamom (Elaichi) Pods/Seeds, Cinnamon Stick (Dalchini), Cardamom Powder (Elaichi), Nutmeg powder, Cashew nuts, Whole Almonds (Badam), Pistachios, Sugar, Sultana Raisins, Dry coconut (kopra)   1 Saffron strands , generous pinch 3 tablespoon Milk , coconut milk or almond milk 1 cup Basmati rice 2 Bay leaf (tej patta) 2 Black cardamom (Badi Elaichi) 2 tablespoons Ghee , plus 1 teaspoon Ghee (Vegans can use coconut oil) 4 Cloves (Laung) 4 Cardamom (Elaichi) Pods/Seeds 1 inch Cinnamon Stick (Dalchini) 3/4 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (Elaichi) Nutmeg powder , a pinch Cashew nuts , chopped Whole Almonds (Badam) , chopped Pistachios , chopped 1/2 cup Sugar , + 2 tablespoons Sugar Sultana Raisins , as required (for garnishing) Dry coconut (kopra) , sliced, for garnishing     30   20     To begin making the Zarda Pulav recipes, warm the milk in a saucepan, add saffron and keep it aside for an hour so that the flavour of saffron is properly absorbed in the milk.Meanwhile, wash the rice with water properly. Once washed properly, soak it in required amount of water for about half an hour.Take 4 to 5 cups of water in a large saucepan, add one bay leaf and one black cardamom. Allow the water to come to a boil.Add a teaspoon of ghee and then add rice and gently stir it for 15 seconds. Par boil the rice i.e. cook it till it is cooked approximately eighty percent. (just as one would cook for layered biryani).Drain and sieve excess water in a colander and remove the rice on a wide plate to allow it to cool. (If you leave it in the colander, the rice will keep cooking gently in its own heat)In a heavy bottomed pan (so that rice does not stick to each other while cooking), heat the ghee and stir fry the cashews, almonds and pistachios for a few seconds till golden in colour (you can roast instead of frying them if you wish to). Remove on an absorbent sheet.In the same pan add cloves, black cardamom, bay leaf, green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Allow the spices to become aromatic. Add rice and very gently stir in the sugar along with saffron milk and cardamom powder {stir in gently so as not to break the rice grains}.Cover the pot and allow the contents to cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat but do not open the lid of the pan. Keep it covered till you are ready to serve.Remove the lid and fluff the rice gently with a fork. Serve hot, garnished with assorted nuts and if you may, add some dry coconut slices and raisins.  Serve Zarda Pulav along with Smoked Dal Makhani Dhaba Style Recipe, Paneer Butter Masala, Jeera Rice and Tawa Paratha for a special weekend meal or you can even make it for your Pot Luck parties.