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Zarda. Meethe Chawal, which is sweet rice in Instant Pot
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4.5 from 6 votes

Zarda Sweet Rice / Meethe Chawal Recipe - Instant Pot

Meethe Chawal or Zarda Rice is a sweet and rich rice preparation loaded with dry fruits, sugar and ghee. This aromatic sweet saffron flavored rice is royal dessert made on special occasions and festivals. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Keyword: authentic, saffron, shahi
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Method: Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker, Stovetop
Servings: 5
Calories: 339kcal
Author: Meeta Arora



  • Heat milk in a microwave for 20 seconds or on stovetop till warm. Soak saffron in it. 

Instant Pot Recipe:

  • Start the instant pot in Sauté mode and heat ghee in it. Add cashews, sliced almonds and raisins. Saute for a minute while stirring until they turn golden brown in color. Remove the nuts and raisins in a bowl and set aside. 
  • In the remaining ghee in the pot, add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Saute  for 30 seconds as their aroma releases. 
  • Add the rinsed rice and toast gently for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add sugar, saffron milk, and water. Press Cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Set the instant pot in pressure cook (manual) mode for 4 minutes at high pressure. When the instant pot beeps, do a 5 minute NPR. This means let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually. (If using sella basmati rice, pressure cook for 6 minutes)
  • Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Now add the toasted cashews, almonds and raisins. Add the desiccated coconut if using. Mix gently. 
  • Zarda Rice is ready. Enjoy warm! 

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Recipe:

  • Follow the same steps, increase water to 1 1/4 cups and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles. Then let the pressure release naturally. 

Stovetop Recipe:

  • Use a heavy bottom pot and heat it on medium-high heat. The initial step to sauté nuts will be the same. 
  • Then add the whole spices and rice. Then add 1.5 cups water, sugar and saffron milk. 
  • Change the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Stir in between at regular intervals. It will take about 15-20 minutes for the rice to cook and soak the liquids. 
  • Fluff the rice and add the sautéed golden nuts and raisins. Serve warm! 



Vegan Variation: Replace ghee with coconut oil and milk with almond or coconut milk. 
Make it yellower: You can use yellow food coloring if you like to make the pulao look more yellow.


Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg