Meethe Chawal: Jaggery-Sweetened Rice

3 Sep

Every time I watch a rerun of Sooryavansham on TV (laugh if you will, I enjoy that film quite a bit) I am struck by the scene in which Radha covers up for the lack of supplies in her kitchen by preparing meethe chawal. Celluloid can inspire us in unexpected ways, as this post is proof. My story may not be as dramatic as that of families reuniting tearfully after watching Sansar (a real effect of the film in the year of its release, I’m told), but it’s still worth telling for those in a culinary quandary similar to mine.

I had to set off that evening for weeks of travel; the plan was to switch off the fridge leaving nothing behind. I had a bowl of boiled white rice remaining from the last meal. In a sans-Sooryavansham world I might have polished it off with chutney podi. Instead I made meethe chawal.

Jaggery Rice - Meethe Chawal

Here is the recipe I used, feel free to modify based on the status of your larder.

You Need:

  • Boiled white rice – 2 cups
  • Jaggery – 1 tablespoon, powdered
  • Salt – a tiny pinch
  • Nuts (almonds/cashew) – 2 tablespoons
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cinnamon – 1 small stick
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons

How To Make Meethe Chawal:

Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. Add cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Stir for a few seconds, then add nuts chopped or whole as you like them.

When the cashew turns golden, add rice. Stir gently to fry, taking care not to mush the rice grains. Cook till the rice turns crisper and darker (about 5-6 mins).

Add salt, stir once and then sprinkle powdered jaggery. Cook till the jaggery melts and coats rice grains evenly (about 3 mins).

Discard the whole spices. Serve hot garnished with almonds.

Meethe Chawal - Jaggery Rice with Almonds


Looking for more recipes that rely on very few/accessible ingredients? Try green gram sundal, plain lauki sabzi, gur ka paratha.

Also try these rice-based dessert recipes: mango phirni, rice kheer with figs and saffron.

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