Classic Indian Sweet Rice Pilaf | Diwali Special Pilaf Recipe

The nutty and sweet rice pilaf turned out to be the most loved dish during the last Diwali. This delicious sweet rice pilaf is best accompanied with a spicy Indian curry!

Sweet rice pilafIt’s been over a month that we celebrated Diwali, the biggest festival celebrated across India, and I am still immersed in its nostalgia. Diwali is not only a festival of light, but also a festival of food; good food that is. All Indian households get busy during this time of the year making various delicacies and one of my preparations which became very popular among my friends and family this year was this sweet rice pilaf. This vegetarian sweet rice pilaf is an absolute crowd pleaser and will delight people from all age groups alike.

This sweet rice pilaf is very easy to make too which is another reason that I chose this recipe during festive season as you may need to prepare it for a large group of people and the easier the recipe is, the better. But you must not think that next Diwali is way too far to make this amazing sweet rice pilaf; you really do not need any special occasion to relish good food. Celebrate everyday and make this sweet rice pilaf next weekend and delight yourself and your family!

Sweet rice pilafSweet rice pilafThe sweet rice pilaf becomes even more special with the addition of an assortment of nuts. You can use what you like – cashew or almonds. But adding some kind of nuts to your sweet rice pilaf is a must. That adds a crunch to the silky-smooth texture of your sweet rice pilaf which makes the dish more enticing. On a regular day, you can use your left-over rice to make this sweet rice pilaf and call it a day. This will become an amazing weeknight dinner which you can enjoy on its own or with a side of any spicy Indian curry.

Diwali is the festival of positivity, of the win of good over evil. My today’s recipe of sweet rice pilaf also comes with similar positivity and warmth that will touch everyone whom you feed this with. Once you try this sweet rice pilaf, you will forget all the stress of life and get immersed in all the good things life has offered you; like it had kept me in the hang-over state even after a month of Diwali. Good food does have a long-lasting impact on our senses; try this sweet rice pilaf and you will know for yourself!

Sweet rice pilaf

Classic Indian Sweet Rice Pilaf | Diwali Special Pilaf Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: Servings 2
  • Basmati rice – 1 cup
  • Cashew nuts – ¼ cup, broken
  • Raisins – ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon stick – ½ inch stick
  • Cloves – 4 to 5
  • Green cardamom – 4 to 5
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Granulated sugar – 4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Saffron – 1 small pinch
  • Milk – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter) – 4 tbsp
  1. Heat 1 tablespoons of oil (or ghee) in a small frying pan and fry the broken cashew nuts until lightly golden. Take them out and set aside.
  2. Boil the Basmati rice till three-fourth cooked. Drain and let it cool completely.
  3. Warm the 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl and add the saffron strands into it. Set aside and let the color of the saffron infuse the milk.
  4. Now in a large wok, heat the remaining oil (or ghee) and temper it with whole spices – cinnamon, cloves, green and black cardamoms and bay leaf. Sauté those for a minute till the oil is nicely fragrant.
  5. Add half of the rice, turmeric powder, sugar and half of the saffron-infused milk. Stir lightly so that all rice is coated with bright orange color.
  6. Once the rice is well mixed, add the remaining half and remaining saffron-milk. Season with salt and mix well but with a light hand so that the long grains of Basmati rice do not break.
  7. Add the fried cashew and raisins and give a final mix.
  8. Serve the sweet rice pilaf warm with a spicy Indian curry of your choice.

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