Meethey Chawal/Dessert Rice
Over time, I've grown fascinated by just how significant a role rice plays in Indian (and to a large extent, Far East Asian and Central Asian) food. There are countless varieties of grain sizes and types of rice - Jasmine, Indica and Basmati to name a few - and they all have their own taste and fragrances. There's a special kind of dessert made with Basmati rice in India's northern states, which we call simply Dessert rice (or Meethey Chawal in Hindi).
Not too long ago on our blog, I wrote about a Jammu speciality - Sri Pulao, made on auspicious occasions. Consider this dish to be Sri Pulao's sibling. Regarding the dish's significance in our culture, I would again refer you to chef extraordinaire Ranveer Brar. His recipe was a bit technical, but the one I'm posting here is a family tradition and much, much simpler in my humble opinion. Put it this way though, you now have two ways of preparing the same dish, so go for whichever one is up your alley.
If you're a rice person, I would say this dessert is something you would most definitely enjoy and has to be a must-have in your repertoire.
Before I walk you through the ingredients and steps, here are some relevant metrics for the recipe
Difficulty - Easy.
Prep time - around 1 hour, simply because we need to soak saffron in water for that long.
Cooking time - around 20 to 25 minutes.
Servings - around 2-3.
Rice - 0.5 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 0.5 cup
Cloves - 2
Crushed Tej Patta/Bay leaf - 1
Black peppercorns - 4
Cinamon stick - 1-inch stick, crushed
Crushed or sliced almonds - around 5 to 7
Crushed or sliced cashews - around 5 to 7
Crushed Pistachio - approx 10 grams
Coconut shaves - approx 10 grams
Saffron - around 6 strands soaked in 1 tbsp water.
Saunf/Fennel seeds - 1tsp
I would recommend frying the nuts before adding them to the dish.
We will cook our rice, but not all the way through; we stop when the rice is around 80% done. We stop at this mark because the rice will be cooked again.
In a large frying pan, heat some Ghee on medium flame. Make sure the Ghee doesn't burn.
Once the Ghee is hot, add in the bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and fennel seeds. Mix the ingredients well and wait for them to release their aroma.
Now add in the rice, sugar and the saffron (along with the water the saffron was soaked in). Continue to mix well until the rice is nicely coated with the Ghee and the ingredients are nicely mixed.
Top up the dish with the fried nuts.
Bon appetite. Enjoy this north Indian classic the next time you feel like something sweet, and as always, I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments down below. See you in the next one.