I grew up in a home with diverse cultural influences and the kitchen clearly reflected that. We enjoyed some hearty dishes from the Afghani cuisine, like Kabuli pulao and Borani Banjan. Then there was a touch of old Delhi/Dilli always on the daily menu with a variety of parathas, chaats and chutneys. But the dominant shade was always the bright and bold colour of Punjab. And boy do we Punjabis love to eat!

The best thing about Punjabi food is that it’s always simple, made with available local produce. Then the loving hands of grandmothers and mothers transform them magically into food that makes you lick your plate clean!

Gur Wale Chawal is one such culinary ritual. Yes, not just a food but a ritual because it has been cooked for ages in rural Punjab for every special occasion – childbirth, wedding, good weather, successful crops, even to appease God! Yes, please God grant my wish and I’ll feed sweet rice to 20 people. And the deal somehow worked for mommies at that time πŸ˜„ because I saw mine distributing gur wale chawal quite frequently!

Three main ingredient, jaggery, rice and ghee, make a dessert that becomes a lifelong happy memory. Ghee was commonly prepared in every Punjabi home till a couple of decades back by slow cooking and then straining butter to get a liquid gold like consistency.

Jaggery or gur can be made from various sources, like date palm and the sap of coconut. But sugarcane has always been a major crop in Punjab and gur made from sugarcane juice is the most commonly used. It is prepared by boiling sugar cane juice till it solidifies and then put into blocks.

I remember my father used to eat a tiny peace of gur everyday post lunch and dinner. It is believed in our culture that gur has many health benefits; it improves digestion and immunity, controls body temperature and cures flu like symptoms.

If you can’t find it, you can use dark brown sugar in its place or molasses.

Also check Zarda Rice, Sweet Spiced Rice and Mutanjan Recipe, Sweet and Salty Rice.

You can also find this recipe and many more sweet and savoury recipes in Diwali special collection on my friend Jayashree’s blog Ever Green DishesΒ .


  • 2+1/2 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2+1/2 cup gur/jaggery crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • Seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 tablespoons ghee(clarified butter) or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mixed almonds, pistachios and dried coconut for garnish (optional)

This Is What You Do:

Rinse and soak rice for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile fill a deep pan 1/2 with water. Boil water.

Drain soaked rice, add to boiling water with whole spices and salt. Cook till rice are almost done, but not completely.

To check, press a grain between your thumb and index finger. It should break into two pieces without getting mashed.

Drain the water.

Add oil to the same pan. Add crushed jaggery and cook on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes or till jaggery/gur begins to melt in oil.

Add rice. Carefully stir to mix rice and jaggery.

Place a tawa/griddle or heavy frying pan under the rice pan. Wrap the lid of the pan in a cotton kitchen towel. Cover the pan tightly.

Cook the rice on very low heat for another 15-20 minutes or till the rice soak up all the liquid from melted jaggery and are fluffy.

Garnish with your choice of nuts and dried fruits or serve as is.

Serve hot for dessert or breakfast.

Serves 6-8

7 Replies to “Gur Wale Chawal, Sweet Jaggery Rice”

  1. This looks really wonderful, Maria, and I thoroughly enjoyed the anecdote about your mum and other mums serving this! I think it’ll be a great one to put n the ramadan list for us.

    1. Thank you, Lin! It’s really wonderful how some foods become quintessential to our family and social life.
      Yes, absolutely! It would be very comforting and energizing to break fast with. πŸ™‚

  2. Rice as the main character!
    Without having any professional knowledge to back up, with my full bias, quality food is the natural medicine.
    It’s fun to imagine people making ghee at home, not at a manufacture!

  3. Salaam. So, I finally got around to making this (first time ever). Turned out well. My Punjabi husband enjoyed it. I even served it to some guests!! The taste is very different from regular meetha chawal. I ended up cooking the rice for an additional 10min because there seemed to be too much liquid in the pot. In spite of that, the rice still seemed to be just a hair away from perfectly tender. Any recommendations on how to fix that?

    1. Wassalam,
      Well done you!!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ You know many expert cooks shrink from cooking gur wale chawal for fear of muddling up the rice. If yours turned out well in the first attempt, it means you have a natural flair for cooking 😊
      The time for rice getting done perfectly depends on various factors and can vary – the brand, polished or unpolished rice, old or new rice and the temperature of your particular stove.
      If you feel the rice are not perfectly done, you can fix them with a little trick (applies for all sweet and savoury rice preparations). Use a damp cotton cloth or kitchen cotton towel to wrap the lid of the pan. Cover and steam on lowest possible heat for another 10-12 minutes.
      If rice have gone kind of soft, you can wrap the lid in brown paper or blotting paper and cover the pan for 15 minutes to soak up extra moisture.
      But I’m sure with a little practice you will get the idea of how long you need to cook your particular brand of rice.

    1. It’s a traditional recipe, dear Shubha! That’s how meethay chawal have always been made in rural Punjab. You can keep them simple with just three main ingredients or dress them up with lots of nuts and dried fruits.
      Hope you and your family will enjoy this sweet and uncomplicated recipe 😊

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