Recipe for zard birinj from the Ain-i-Akbari by Akbar’s courtier Abu’l Fazl
10 seers of rice;
5 seers of sugar candy;
3.5 seers of ghee;
raisins, almonds and pistachios : 0.5 seer of each;
2 seer of salt;
5 seer of fresh ginger;
1.5 dams saffron,
2.5 misqals of cinnamon.
That was for an Emperor’s table for ordinary mortals like us , I prefer this
2 cups rice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ghee
You can reduce quantity of ghee.
This is traditional amount
1- Boil some water with ilaichi.
If you are cooking 2 cups of rice take 6-7 cups of water
2- Once the water is boiled, pour in the rice and add yellow food color in it. Let it boil for few minutes until its 3/4 done – (ek kani rah jaani chahiye ).
3. Drain the extra water. Cover the rice and keep aside.
4- put oil in a pot.
Make a layer of rice , then a layer of sugar over it. Repeat this until you have 2 to 3 nice layers of oil/ghee, sugar and rice.
5- Put it on high flame and let the sugar melt with the rest of the things. Keep checking the consistency.
Once its done, turn the heat slow and let it cook slowly for about 10 minutes.
The way to do that is – Cover the pan with a cloth followed by the lid and put it on very low heat. Keep a tawa under the pot to prevent burning.
6- When cooked, garnish it with almonds and kishmish (raisins)
You could also use the dry fruits in the layer process of you like more of it