Saffron Sweet Rice -- Zarda Pullao

"A sweet Indian cinnamon and sugary rice we especially enjoy in Ramadan at the time of breaking the fast. The saffron gives it a warm, pleasant taste and aroma, and it makes a beautiful presentation with its bright yellow color in individual serving dishes."
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Ready In:
1hr 25mins




  • Put the crumbled up saffron into the tablespoons of warm milk and let it sit for 1-2 hours.
  • Wash the rice well, then put it into a large bowl with about 5 cups of water and leave it to soak for 1/2 hour. Drain completely.
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid. (you will be placing it into the oven later on so this is important).
  • When the butter is hot put in the pistachios and toast them lightly (they will get a kind of golden tint) this takes about a minute or two. Remove the pistachios with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Now, put the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods into the same butter. Stir and fry for 1 minute.
  • Now, put the drain rice into the butter with the cinnamon and cardamom and stir and fry for about 3 minutes.
  • Add water, food coloring, and salt. Stir and cook until all of the water is absorbed.
  • Now put in the saffron milk, sugar, and raisins. Mix together, cover, and place it into an oven set at 325°F for 25 minutes.
  • When finished, place into a pretty serving bowl, or individual serving bowls (take out the cinnamon and cardamom first) and sprinkle with the pistachio nuts.
  • Enjoy!

Questions & Replies

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  1. A lite sweet tasting fragrant rice. I was expecting this to be sweeter, like a dessert. It was a bit dry but maybe thats how it is supposed to be? I thought that would be the case with the ratio of water to rice but I decided to follow along and not add additional water. I made this for part of Fitoor as recommended which DD (toddler) and I ate. I used rice milk as we are dairy free and canola oil for the butter. The rice I used was white Basmati. The pistachios mustnt be left out they add a finishing touch to taste and looks. I did leave out the food colouring as a preference. I used sea salt in a lesser amount and brown sugar for the sugar which may possibly have accounted for it being less sweet. Made for Ramadan Tag.


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