Meethe Chawal /Gur Waley Chawal (Sweet Jaggery Rice)..Happy Baisakhi!!

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Meethe Chawal /Gur Waley Chawal (Sweet Jaggery Rice)…my first ever Baisakhi post J…Baisakhi – Punjabi New Year and the crop harvesting festival. And, of course, no celebration in Punjab (or any part of India for that matter!!) is complete without food, drink and the spirit of sharing joy and love…growing up, Meethe Chawal was a must on Baisakhi and so here it is…here’s to health, happiness and love to everyone.

Meethe Chawal /Gur Waley Chawal (Sweet Jaggery Rice)

Ingredients

  • Rice. 1 cup washed and soaked for 30 minutes.
  • Gur/Jaggery, Grated using a box grater or chopped into small pieces, ¾ cup
  • Water, 2 ½ cups
  • Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
  • Bayleaf, 1
  • Green cardamom, 2-3
  • Cinnamon, 1” stick
  • Cloves, 3-4
  • Nuts of your choice, I used only cashews you can also add almonds, a handful
  • Raisins, a handful (by now you know both of us don’t like raisins so I skipped)
  • Desi ghee, 2 tbsp

Instructions

Add 2 ½ cups water and fennel seeds in a pan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Measure and transfer 2 cups into a bowl.

Add the grated jaggery to the hot water. Stir till the jaggery completely melts and keep aside. The water needs to cool to add to the rice later.

Wash rice under cold running water and soak for about half an hour. Drain and keep aside.

Heat the ghee on low heat in a heavy bottom pan.

Once hot, add in the cashews and almonds. Stir till the nuts change colour to pale golden on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the same pan, add bayleaf, green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Stir for about 4-5 seconds and add in the drained out rice.

Stir till all the rice is well coated with ghee and start turning translucent.

Increase the heat to high and using a strainer, add the jaggery water to the rice (do strain to remove the fennel seeds and any impurities left behind in the jaggery)

Bring to a boil, add in the raisins and most of the fried nuts.

Lower the heat, cover and let it cook till all the water is absorbed and rice is completely cooked.

Remove the pan from heat and let it rest covered for about 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and garnish with the remaining fried nuts and serve immediately.

Notes

Some people don’t use fennel seeds and some use only fennel seeds. Your option completely but the jaggery and fennel combination is a match made in heaven.
As a kid, I didn’t like the smell and the taste of the spices with this rice, so a special batch was made for me without adding bay leaf, green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves.
You can skip the spices completely if you want. Add a little orange zest instead (or not)
You can add a cup of grated carrots to the rice if you want or about a 1/4 cup of chana dal (soaked for about 4-5 hours)


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