Orange-flavoured sweet rice

Preparation info

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Appears in

Bengali Cooking: Seasons & Festivals

Bengali Cooking

By Chitrita Banerji

Published 1997

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To make the Orange-flavoured sweet rice, about 20 oranges were peeled, the sections separated and the pulp and juice scraped out into a waiting bowl. Enough of the peel was chopped into tiny slivers to make 120 g (4 oz). This was set aside separately. Then she measured out about 500 g (1 lb) of fine polao rice (Basmati will do) and rinsed it in a colander under running water. Leaving the rice in the colander, she put to boil 2.2 litres (4 pints) of water in a very large pot, adding a touch of orange food colouring to it. She added the rice to the boiling water and stirred from time to time until the rice was done. The orange peel was thrown in just before the rice was ready and kept there for a couple of minutes. The water was then drained and the rice left in the colander until it was dry. Then it was transferred to a large tray and spread out to let all lingering excess moisture evaporate. Meanwhile, she took another pot and made a syrup with 1 kg (2 lbs) of sugar and 120 ml (4 fl oz) of water. To this was added 3 sticks of cinnamon, 4 cardamoms and 4 cloves. She stirred the syrup over a low flame, until all the sugar melted. Then she added all the orange pulp and juice, and 120 ml (4 fl oz) of ghee and cooked the mixture for three to four minutes before adding the rice. This was stirred and stirred until no moisture was left and the rice gleamed with ghee, but she was careful not to let the rice burn or stick to the pot. At this stage the pot was covered tightly and left on the lowest of low flames for five more minutes. If this is difficult, you can try putting the pot in an oven set at the lowest temperature. When the jarda was finally done, she transferred it to a shallow silver serving dish and left it uncovered until it had cooled. Then she turned it over several times with a fork so that it would not be sticky or lumpy. It is essential for a jarda to be light and fluffy. Before serving she garnished it with almonds, pistachios and raisins.

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