Keshri Bhaat – the ubiquitous Parbhi sweet for auspicious occasions.

Gudi Padwa, Akshay Trutiya, Vijaya Dashami and Kartik Pratipada are revered as auspicious days in Hindu belief and celebrated as साडे तीन मुहूर्त in Marathi tradition.

On each of these days Parbhi households, go against traditional Marathi convention (as usual) cook mutton for lunch!

Curiously, the spicy meat and potato stew is accompanied by a sweet rice pulao called Keshri Bhaat. This recipe is more strikingly similar to a Muslim style Zarda Pulao than its Maharashtrian cousin ‘Naarali Bhaat’.


1 cup fragrant long grained rice (basmati)

2 and ½ cups full fat milk

1 cup grain sugar

1 tbsp desi ghee

2 Cloves, a stick of Cinnamon and 2 Cardamoms

A generous pinch of saffron 

½ tsp of cardamom and nutmeg powders

Raisins and Chopped Nuts to garnish


Heat ghee in a nonstick pan and add the whole spices. Splutter for a minute.

Add washed and drained basmati and tip into the ghee. Sauté on a slow flame for 3-4 minutes.

Simultaneously, add saffron to the milk and bring it to a boil

Add the boiling milk to the rice, cover and cook on a low flame till the rice is done. You may want to give it an occasional stir to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom.

Once the rice is cooked and is soft and fluffy, add the sugar and let it melt on a low flame. Cover and cook till all the moisture is completely absorbed in the rice.

Add the nutmeg and cardamom along with chopped nuts / raisins as desired.

Cook further till the cooked rice looks nice and glossy! 

Serve with a spicy mutton curry – or if you think that’s too radical, have it as dessert. You may want to make this more of a calorie bomb by crushing a couple of malai pedas over the rice while it’s still hot and watch them melt into little fatty puddles of goodness into the sticky rice!

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