Sweet Jaggery Rice (Gur Wale Chawal)
Last year, I contributed a super-easy, modern, Gluten-Free Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis.
This year, I went traditional. And by traditional, I mean super, next-level, ask-your-grandmother-what-it-is traditional.
You see, jaggery rice is becoming a distant memory.
I once took it to an actual Eid Potluck and I remember several comments along the lines of “Bachpan ki yaad taaza kar di” (reminds me of my childhood).
I brought it to that potluck because I love reviving that memory, and I’m bringing it to Eid Eats for the same reason.
This recipe is for everyone who has a faint recollection of the sweet aroma and rich, earthy taste of jaggery rice. It’s for anyone who wants to experience a simple yet memorable South Asian dessert.
It’s also for my newly-married self who scoured the internet desperately seeking a decent jaggery rice recipe. This dish is special to me, and that’s why I want to preserve it.
What is Jaggery (or Gur)?
Jaggery is a concentrated form of dehydrated sugarcane juice and it often includes date or palm sap. You can read more about it on Wiki.
Where can you get jaggery?
I usually get it straight from the villages of Pakistan (no joke – I take my gur seriously if you haven’t noticed). But I’ve bought it at Indian/Pakistani grocery stores and have also seen it on Amazon. The quality of your gur will largely determine the results of your end product, so I recommend finding one you love.
Can you substitute brown sugar?
The short answer is yes, you may, but then it won’t really be jaggery rice. It’ll be sweet brown sugar rice (more like zarda). I’ve had it that way, but in my opinion, it’s not as good as jaggery rice. I think dehydrated sugarcane juice would be a better substitute than brown sugar.
I’ve also seen panella (or pinoncolo), palm sugar, and other variations of the unrefined block of cane sugar that give the same jaggery-like vibes, but I haven’t tried substituting any of them for jaggery.
Can you make this on the stovetop/Instant Pot?
I’ve made it successfully on the stovetop. But to be honest, my results are always better in the rice cooker. And it’s easier too!
I will probably try it in my Instant Pot and update you with the results of that as well. I have used this rice cooker (affiliate link) for years and I highly recommend it to anyone who cooks rice frequently.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment below. I’d also love to hear about your memories or if you’ve heard of jaggery rice! And as always, don’t forget to let me know if you try the recipe.
Eid Mubarak to all my friends, near and far!
Easy Jaggery Rice in the Rice Cooker - Gur Wale Chawal
Jaggery Rice is a traditional South Asian recipe that sweetens rice with jaggery (or gur) for a deeply flavorful dessert. This recipe is gluten-free, easy to make, and yields perfect results.
- 1 cup quality basmati rice 185-190 grams
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1.5 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 5-6 green cardamom pods
- 1 medium bay leaf
- 185 grams jaggery (gur) broken up into chunks
- malai/cream or crème fraiche for serving (optional)
- nuts such as cashews/slivered almonds or raisins for garnish (optional)
Place rice in a medium-sized bowl and fill with water. Use your hand to swirl the rice around gently until the water becomes murky. Tip the bowl to take out the excess water and repeat until the water runs clear. Strain it and place it in a rice cooker with 2 cups of filtered water.
Meanwhile, start the jaggery melting process. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter, ghee, cardamom pods, and bay leaf. When the butter and ghee melt (be careful not to let it brown), add 1/3 cup of water and add the jaggery. Let it simmer while stirring until melted. When the jaggery has melted and no chunks remain, remove it from heat and set aside.
When the rice is about 3/4th done*, open the lid and add the jaggery syrup to the rice cooker. Stir carefully and close the rice cooker again, letting it finish cooking the rice.
After the rice has finished cooking, let the rice rest for 10 minutes before serving. If you feel that the jaggery still hasn't completely melted into the rice, close the lid and let it rest up to an hour. Serve with any garnishing of choice. I like to eat it plain with some crème (malai) on the side.
*My rice cooker generally takes about 50 minutes to completely cook the rice. After the steam starts to release from the rice cooker (about halfway into cooking), I add in the jaggery. It is important to add the jaggery when the rice is still in the process of cooking.