Kesari Bhath

                     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


  1. Heat 2 tbsp. of ghee in a pan and roast the washed rice for a minute or till it starts appearing translucent.
  2. Add water and cloves and give a stir, once the water starts boiling simmer and close the lid. Keep checking in between.
  3. Cook till the rice is soft and mushy ,adding more water if required in between depending on the rice variety used.
  4. Once the rice is soft and completely cooked add the saffron strands soaked in milk and stir well.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Once the ghee starts leaving the sides, switch off the gas.
  8. Garnish with nuts and raisins roasted in ghee.
                                           Here is a pictorial of various stages
                                Serve the Kesari bhath warm or piping hot
  1. The cup I used holds 250 grams of rice.
  2. I have used the local variety  basmati rice available at the grocery store.
  3. Adjust sugar as per your preferred sweetness.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. You can also use edible synthetic colour but I recommend using Saffron strands for the authentic taste.
  7. Adjust ghee as per your need and preference and add it in intervals. The more ghee you add the more tastier the dessert.

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