Kesari bhath is a famous dessert prepared from rice which is infused with Saffron strands. This used to be a much preferred item during weddings and other religious functions in our GSB community in Karnataka but has been almost forgotten now-a- days. Some still prefer this during the auspicious Satyanarayan Pooja and include it in the menu.
In South Canara this dish is prepared from a special variety rice which is called Jeersala or Ghansala but also can be prepared with Basmati rice. A very simple recipe but rich with the use of Ghee and Saffron. Do try this delicious sweet whenever possible .
- 1 cup Basmati rice or any other variety of aromatic rice used for desserts.
- 1 to 1 &1/4th cup of sugar(adjust more or less)
- 1/4th to 1/2 cup of pure ghee + 2 tbsp.
- 10-12 saffron strands soaked in lukewarm milk.
- 4-5 cloves/Lavang
- Tsp of cardamom powder
- 2 and 1/2 cups of water OR as required
- Cashew nuts and raisins for garnish
- Heat 2 tbsp. of ghee in a pan and roast the washed rice for a minute or till it starts appearing translucent.
- Add water and cloves and give a stir, once the water starts boiling simmer and close the lid. Keep checking in between.
- Cook till the rice is soft and mushy ,adding more water if required in between depending on the rice variety used.
- Once the rice is soft and completely cooked add the saffron strands soaked in milk and stir well.
- Now add sugar and mix well till all the sugar melts and rice ,saffron strands and sugar blends well. Add cardamom powder at this stage and mix again.
- Keep adding ghee at intervals of 5 minutes and keep stirring until the rice thickens to a nice consistency and ghee leaves the sides of the pan
- Once the ghee starts leaving the sides, switch off the gas.
- Garnish with nuts and raisins roasted in ghee.
Here is a pictorial of various stages
Serve the Kesari bhath warm or piping hot
- The cup I used holds 250 grams of rice.
- I have used the local variety basmati rice available at the grocery store.
- Adjust sugar as per your preferred sweetness.
- I like my kesari bhath to be soft and mushy, and have cooked the rice accordingly, You can cook as per your preference adjusting the water.
- Make sure you cook rice completely as per your preference before adding sugar.. as the rice doesn’t cook once the sugar has been added.
- You can also use edible synthetic colour but I recommend using Saffron strands for the authentic taste.
- Adjust ghee as per your need and preference and add it in intervals. The more ghee you add the more tastier the dessert.