Sweet Saffron Rice (Rice Kesaribhath, Sheera)

Sweet Saffron Rice (Rice Kesaribhath, Sheera)

Kesaribath or sheera is saffron infused rice, sweetened with sugar and enriched with loads of ghee. Kesaribath is a popular south Indian dessert prepared using either rice or semolina.

"Kesari" refers to yellow in kannada/konkani and "bath" refers to any dish made with rice in konkani/kannada.

Kesaribath's a versatile dish that can be eaten at virtually anytime - for breakfast, lunch, brunch, snacks or even as a dessert. 

Here's goes the recipe for kesaribath made with rice, also called as sheera.


1/2 cup rice (Preferably basmati rice) 
1/2 cup sugar
4-5 tablespoons of ghee 
1-2 tablespoons of raisins
1-2 tablespoons of cashews 
2-3 cloves
A pinch of kesar powder/yellow coloring powder or 7-8 saffron strands 
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder 

Preparation Method:

Cook the rice as you normally would in either a pressure cooker or on the stovetop. You will need 2-3 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. Once the rice is cooked and has cooled slightly, spread the rice out using a fork or your fingers carefully, to separate the rice grains. Keep it aside until needed.

Soak saffron strands in lukewarm milk/water for 10-15 minutes. 

In a small saucepan on medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. When hot, add the cloves, cashews & raisins. Stir & let them cook for few minutes until the raisins have plumped nicely and the cashews have started to brown. Remove the saucepan from heat & set aside until needed. Don’t forget to reserve some nuts & raisins for garnish. 

In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add the sugar with just enough water to make a syrup. Be careful not to add excess water. The amount of sugar added can equal or be little less than the amount of rice grains used. Stir until the sugar dissolves, this will take may be around 5-6 minutes or so. The syrup will have both a watery consistency & sticky feel to it. Now add the saffron along with its soaking liquid, toasted nuts and raisins. Stir together until everything is well combined. Now carefully stir in the cooked rice. Mix well and add the cardamom powder. Stir well, cover and cook on low for 5-6 minutes until all the flavors have combined and the rice has absorbed the sweet syrup and spices. Put off the flame, add in the remaining ghee and mix well. Garnish with some toasted nuts & golden raisins, serve warm or at room temperature. 


Generally jeera rice called as sannakki (short grained rice) and ghansal rice grains (they have a typical flavour and smell of their own) are used to make kesaribath. Basmathi rice is also best suited for rice kesaribhath.

Amount of water required to cook the rice depends on the rice. Generally the amount of water required is double the amount of rice to get well separated cooked rice. Just take care that the rice doesn't get too mushy. We need well separated cooked rice grains.

Saffron is very important in this recipe. It induces a nice flavor. But if you don't have it then just use yellow food coloring.
Add sugar only after the rice is cooked completely. Do not add before hand as sugar prevents further cooking of rice.
Ghee usually oozes out from kesaribath i.e more the ghee, the better it tastes. :-) Add ghee as you like.

Serves: 3-4

Liked this recipe? Then you might like Pineapple Kesaribath (Sheera) too. For more Indian desserts and sweets recipes look here.

Tags: Festival food, dessert, sweets, saffron rice, Indian desserts, kesaribhath, sheera, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore food, Konkani recipes, Konkani food, Ganesh chaturthi