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Menus and Memories from Punjab
by Veronica Sidhu

Mitha Chaval
This elegant dish that Bebeji often made for our community meal in the gurudwara can be part of the main meal or a dessert, rust vary the amount of sugar. The orange zest adds a Persian touch, which is probably the origin of the dish.     (vegan or dairy)
Yield: 8 or 9 half-cup servings


    • 1 rounded cup basmati rice
    • 1/3 cup golden raisins
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon saffron or 5 drops yellow food color
    • 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
    • 1/3 to 1 cup sugar
    • 4 cloves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
    • 1/2 cup dried thin slices of coconut, broken into pieces (optional)
    • 1/2 cup slivered and lightly toasted almonds


Rinse the rice under cold water until water runs clear In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a rolling boil Add the rice, raisins, and salt and boil for exactly 5 minutes Drain thoroughly

If using the saffron, pulverize in a mortar Add the saffron or food coloring and orange zest to the rice

Over low heat, warm the coconut oil or ghee in a non- stick pan or pot with a tight fitting cover Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom seeds, stir for only a few seconds and then stir in the rice mixture Add 1/4 cup water and coconut slices Cover tightly and cook over very low heat until all water is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 20 minutes If the rice is undercooked, sprinkle a teaspoon of water into it and check after 5 minutes Rice grains should be separate Serve warm with the almonds sprinkled on top

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