Bengali mishti pulao (sweet pilaf) step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Before tasting this dish, I had no idea that pulao or pilaf could be sweet and yet taste so good. Mishti pulao (sweet pilaf) is a fragrant, mildly spiced, sweet rice dish made with a special variety of rice called ‘Gobindo Bhog’. It’s not easy to find this fragrant rice if you are outside Bengal, so I make it with Basmati rice. Tastes equally good, but misses the aroma that Gobindo Bhog has.
This fragrant rice paired with ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and whole spices takes you to a different world. Enjoy this mishti pulao with spicy mutton curry and finish off with an all-time favorite Bengali dessert Rasgulla for a heavenly weekend meal! (Click here for rasgulla recipe).
Rice: Traditionally, Gobindo bhog rice is used to make the pulao. However, I use Basmati rice.
Sugar: As the name suggests, sugar is a key ingredient to make this dish.
Ghee: This pulao tastes best when made with ghee.
Spices: Lots of whole spices are used - cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, bay leaf, black cardamom, pepper, and cloves.
Cashew and raisins: These are fried in ghee and added to the pulao.
Step by step instructions to make mishti pulao
1. Spread the washed rice on a large plate or tray and let it dry
2. Heat ghee, add whole spices and ginger
3. Add rice, sugar, salt, and turmeric powder
4. Once sugar melts, add fried cashew and raisins
5. Add water and boil until rice is completely done
6. Add nutmeg once the rice is done
7. Mix well and serve hot
Sweet pulao served with mutton curry
- 3 cups basmati rice
- ¼ cup cashew nut
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ inch ginger grated
- 4-5 tbsp ghee
- 6-7 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3-4 green cardamom
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 mace
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 3-4 cloves
- 5½ cups water
- 1 tsp nutmeg powder
- Wash the rice with cold water and drain completely. Spread the rice on a large plate or tray and let it dry for 30 minutes
- Heat a frypan or kadhai and add 1 tbsp ghee. Fry the cashew and raisin until golden brown. Set aside
- Add remaining ghee to the same pan. Add bay leaf and the whole spices. Saute for a minute until they are aromatic
- Add the grated ginger and fry for a few seconds
- Add rice, turmeric powder, sugar, and salt. Gently fry them until the sugar melts and starts to get sticky. The sugar should become sticky but must not be caramelised
- Add the fried cashew and raisins. Add hot water and bring to boil
- Reduce the flame to a minimum. Cover with a tight lid and cook until the rice is completely done. Or you may cook the rice in a rice cooker
- Once the rice is done, add the nutmeg powder and mix the rice while it is still hot
- Serve hot with mutton curry
- The washed and dried rice is very delicate, so handle it with care. Mix carefully else the rice will break
- Take care the sugar doesn’t caramelise, but be sure it completely melts and get sticky
- As the name suggests, this pulao is sweet. But you may reduce the sugar as per your preference
- You may add a handful of peas while cooking the rice if you prefer