Zarda (xahr-duh) is a dessert which is served all over’ Pakistan and India during Moslem festivals and feasts.

½ oz. butter

12 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

½ teaspoon salt seeds of

6 cardamom pods, coarsely crushed

2-inch cinnamon stick, crushed

1 pint milk

2 to

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons double cream

½ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in

2 tablespoons hot milk for

20 minutes

2 teaspoons lemon juice

15 blanched almonds, slivered

4 tablespoons blanched pistachio nuts, slivered 6 tablespoons raisins

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the rice, salt, carda-mom seeds and cinnamon and fry, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and sugar to taste. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the casserole and simmer the rice for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is cooked and all the milk has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C).

Stir the cream, saffron mixture and lemon juice into the mixture. Re-cover the casserole and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven.

Spoon the rice on to a warmed serving platter. Decorate with the nuts and raisins and serve at once.

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