I first tasted the traditional version of this recipe in an event where my music teacher or Gaan Dida was present. It was a pot luck event and one of her students from Bangladesh had brought this offering. The recipe was a very sweet rice pilaf colored with deep orange, called jorda.
I like the concept and since then worked with it to give it several healthier makeovers, these have not really amended the taste significantly. I have eliminated the clarified butter and food color. I have instead replaced the color with grated sweet potatoes, which actually give the dish a lovely streaked appearance and the sweetness of the vegetable blends in beautifully with the light sweetness of the rice. Mostly, I like the fact that the this could be done fairly quickly with some pantry staples, what I did not like was its dependance on artificial color.
I make the recipe with maple syrup, which is actually similar in concept although not quite in flavor to the date palm molasses called notun gur. I am absolutely addicted to maple syrup and use it for anything that I can get away with. It also saves the trouble of making sugar syrup all in all rendering the recipe rather easy to put together for fairly good results. Now, since I add coconut to this, if you wish to have a vegan version, you can use coconut oil to cook.
Its lighter sweet taste makes it cross lines between the dessert and savory rice, so I often serve it along with the rest of the meal, alongside the white rice and depending up the palate of the eaters it is either eaten along with the savory dishes or relished on the side as a dessert.
A mildly sweetened rice pilaf that is served on festive occasions.
- 2 tablespoons clarified butter
- ¾ cup of white rice (basmati or a short grained variety)
- 1 cup of dark maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon saffron strands
- A few pieces of cinnamon
- 3 to 4 cardamoms
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons bakers coconut
- 1/3 cup dark raisins
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1/2 cup of fresh clementine or tangerine bits (3 clementines, peeled and sectioned)
- Heat the ghee or coconut oil until melted, add in the rice and stir well for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add in rice maple syrup and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer.
- Add in the saffron strands, cinnamon, cardamoms, bay leaves, pecans and the raisins.
- Cover the mixture and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
- The maple syrup mixture should be completely absorbed and the rice should be a pale saffron color and very fragrant and soft.
- Stir in the ground almonds and the tangerine bits and arrange the rice on a serving platter and serve warm.