Zarda (food)

A plate of coloured zarda, flavoured with various ingredients
Alternative names Zorda, Jarda, Jorda
Course Dessert
Place of origin Indian subcontinent
Region or state Indian subcontinent
Associated national cuisine India, Bangladesh, Pakistan
Main ingredients Rice, raisins, cardamom, saffron, pistachios or almonds
Variations Mutanjan
Food energy
(per serving)
400-600 kcal (-2112 kJ)
Cookbook: Zarda  Media: Zarda

Zarda (Urdu: زردہ, Bengali: জর্দা, Hindi: ज़ारदा) is a traditional sweet dish from the Indian subcontinent, made by boiling rice with (orange) food coloring, milk and sugar, and flavoured with cardamoms, raisins, saffron, pistachios or almonds.[1][2] The name Zarda comes from Persian word 'zard' زرد meaning 'yellow',[2] hence named since the food coloring added to the rice gives it a yellow color. Zarda is typically served after a meal. In the Indian subcontinent, zarda was and still remains a popular dessert on special occasions such as weddings.

Often in Pakistan, instead of yellow food coloring, multiple food colorings are added so the rice grains are of multiple colors. Additionally, khoya, candied fruits (murabba) and nuts are an essential part of zarda made at auspicious occasions. There also is a popular use of raisins, and other dried fruits to dish.

Dating back to Mughal India, zarda had a variation with an addition of small fried sweetmeat pieces called 'Mutanjan'. This dish was a favourite of Emperor Shahjahan and was often made on his request. This rice dish was made for guests at special banquets. This dish is still eaten to this date in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

See also


  1. "Zarda Recipe (Indian Sweet Rice)". The Huffington Post. November 17, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Mama’s Punjabi Recipes- Mithe Chawal (Sweet Rice)". Indo American News. February 12, 2015.
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