Recipe: Zarda Sweet Saffron Rice, Makki Ki Roti, Sarson Ka Saag

Click to play video: 'Vaisakhi Cooking with Chef Gurjyote Singh Sethi'
Vaisakhi Cooking with Chef Gurjyote Singh Sethi
Vaisakhi celebrations get underway in a number of communities around the province this weekend. Food is a big part of it, and chef Gurjyote Sethi joins Global News Morning to demonstrate a few delicious dishes – Apr 12, 2024

Zarda Sweet Saffron Rice


  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cup basmati rice (soaked for 30 minutes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 cashew halves
  • 8 almonds (crushed)
  • 12 pistachios
  • 15 Raisins
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • Few saffron strands
  • ¾ cup sugar (white or brown, adjust to taste)


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Roast cashews, almonds, pistachios, and raisins until golden brown on a low flame. Set aside.
  2. In the remaining ghee, add cardamom, cloves, and 2 cups of water (plus a little extra). Bring to a boil. Add saffron and mix well for the color to infuse.
  3. Add soaked basmati rice (drained) and mix well. Cover and cook on medium flame for 10 minutes until the rice is 90 per cent cooked. Turn off heat and let the rice rest.
  4. In a separate pan, add sugar. As the sugar starts to melt, add the cooked rice (fluff it before adding). Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee and let the sugar and ghee blend for about 5 minutes until slightly dry. Then, add the roasted dry fruits.
  5. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Avoid overcooking to prevent the rice from becoming mushy.

Serve: Garnish with nuts and silver leaves.

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Makki Ki Roti


  • 2 cups makki atta (maize flour)
  • 1 cup hot water (adjust as required)
  • salt to taste
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ghee for roasting


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine maize flour and salt. Mix well.
  2. Heat water in a pan until it boils. Add the hot water to the flour. Mix to form a dough. Cover and let it sit until warm.
  3. Once warm, knead the dough until smooth and firm. Adjust consistency with warm water or maize flour if needed.
  4. Make medium-sized balls from the dough. Flatten them into discs.
  5. Roll out each ball into small to medium-sized round circles, keeping them slightly thick.
  6. Heat a tawa (skillet) and drizzle some ghee on it. Cook the rotis until browned and cooked from all sides, flipping occasionally. Press the edges to ensure even cooking.

Serve: Best served with Sarson ka Saag, jaggery cubes, and white butter.

Sarson Ka Saag


  • 4 bunches mustard leaves
  • 1 ½ bunches spinach
  • 1 bunch rapani
  • 1.5 tablespoons makki ka atta
  • 3 teaspoons jaggery (grated)
  • 1-inch piece ginger

For Tempering:

  • 2 tablespoons desi ghee
  • A pinch of asafoetida (Hing)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chilies (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (Kashmiri chili)

For Garnishing:

  • Ginger (julienned)


  1. Clean and wash the mustard leaves, spinach, and rapani separately. Roughly shred the leaves and finely slice the stems.
  2. Boil or blanch all the leaves until tender. Then, finely chop half of the ginger and cut the rest into juliennes.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pan, sauté chopped onions, ginger, and garlic in ghee until fragrant. Squeeze excess water from the leaves and add them to the pan along with makki atta. Blend into a coarse puree.
  4. In the same pan, heat ghee and add whole cumin, chopped onions, tomatoes, chili powder, chopped green chilies, and hing. Once it starts to splutter, add the pureed mixture. Cook on low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add warm water if needed to adjust consistency and seasoning.
  5. When ready, serve with white butter, Makki Roti, and jaggery, garnished with julienned ginger.

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