Mama’s Punjabi Recipes-Gur Walle Mithe Chawal (Jaggery Sweetened Rice)

Recipe 1in

Sweet rice is not a dish that most people in the West know of unless it is in a pudding or other milk-based form. In most parts of India, the milky kheer is the most often rice-based desert that you will find, as it is in many Indian restaurants the world over. It is a great desert that easily reaches many palates because of its familiar pudding formulation and appeal. Adding some cardamoms, saffron and sliced, slivered almonds turns it easily into an Indian dish.

But in the Punjab and northwest India, where rice is reserved for special occasions, there are several other ways to prepare the staple in a desert, and in fact, this one, Gur Walle Chawal can be eaten like a filling meal, although sweet, by itself. It combines the dark, sweetened flavor of jaggery with the wholesomeness of rice and the slightly brown dish is aromatic and delicious.

Gur walle chawal is another dish that is usually made for weddings that are held in the winter-time when the gur is freshly fermented in the farms. This is the same season when hundreds of farm hands converge on the large northern cities and made gur di gajak (jaggery peanut brittle) and patissa (jaggery sesame seed cakes) to take advantage of the short fermenting season of the new gur.

Gur walle chawal can also be made in any season, but if it’s served in a Punjabi family, then you should be sure to ask what the occasion is before trying them. You may have to come back to present a gift!

1 cup chawal (rice)
2 cup pani (water)
1 cup gur (jaggery)
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) – you can use olive oil
½ tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
½ nariyal giri (dry coconut kernel)
Condiments to your taste: kishmish (raisins); saunf (fennel seed)
Dry fruits to your taste: badam (almonds – peeled and silvered); piste (pistachios – halved or pieces)


1. Wash the rice in cold water and let soak for 30 minutes.
2. Pour the gur into 2 cups of water and let it boil for a little while till the gur melts; then set to the side.
3. Cut the coconut kernel into thin slices and put to the side.
4. Warm the oil over medium heat and pour in the cumin seeds. Roast a little, then pour in the gur water and bring to a boil.
5. Drain the rice through a sieve and add the rice to the gur water. Add the coconut slices, raisins, fennel and dry fruit and stir. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat; then turn the heat down to very low and leave covered.
6. After 10 minutes, uncover and check to see if the rice is tender using a fork or shifting the kernels with a pointy knife. The dish is ready to be served.

mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.