Kesari bath / saffron rice

Sweet dishes are more common in havyaka cuisine.

Some of the commonly prepared havyaka sweet recipes are the following:
Avalakki manoharakayi Sukkinundechana dal holige/obbattu / kadlebele holigejack fruit idli / halasina hannina idlikadle maddi / hayagrivagensle / genasele and kashi halwa / ash gourd halva etc.

Kesari bath / saffron rice is a traditional havyaka sweet recipe. It is generally prepared during festivals, marriages or on special occasions such as brahmopadesha. This recipe tastes well, contains a rich aroma of saffron. In southern Karnataka region, kesari bath is shira (a part of chow chow bath) which is prepared using chiroti rawa. However this recipe is prepared using rice and saffron, hence the name kesari bath.

If you use small rice/ sannakki it tastes well. Alternatively you may also use sona masuri rice for the preparation. We also use ghee, milk, saffron, dry fruits in this recipe and hence it is very tasty recipe. To store it, you can warm it for few minutes. It is generally best enjoyed with the meal, or with spicy food items such as bajji, bonda or ambode.

Though this dish is cooked for a large gathering, in this blogpost, we tried describing how to prepare kesari bath / saffron rice at home for about 4 people. The seven steps of preparing kesari bath have been shown along with pictures. My friend Soumya's father-in-law (Mahabaleshwar Hegde) is an expert kesari bath cook and he is sweet enough to share the secrets of this sweet havyaka recipe.

Let us start with the ingredients.

Ingredients: 1 cup = 250 ml
  • Sannakki / jeera rice / sona masuri raw rice -  1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 1.25 cups
  • Ghee - 1/4 cup + 1 tabletspoon 
  • Milk - 2 teaspoons
  • Saffron / kesari - 3/4 teaspoon 
  • Dry fruits - few (raisins, cashews)
  • Salt - 1/4 teaspoon (for taste)
  • Lemon - 1/2

Preparation time : 30 to 40 minutes

Servings : 4


Step 1. Soak 3/4 teaspoon of saffron in 2 teaspoons of hot milk for 10 minutes.

Step 2. Cook rice in open vessel (add water depending upon type of rice). Don't cook in pressure cooker, since pressure cooked rice is sticky. And here we want the cooked rice not to stick with other cooked rice grains. In open vessel, rice should be cooked till grains become very soft (easily mash-able texture).

cook rice in open vessel

Step 3. After rice is cooked, turn off the gas stove. Drain-off excess water from cooked rice. Now add ghee and mix well. Keep aside for 5 minutes.

add ghee

mix and keep aside

Step 4. Now on low flame, add sugarsto cooked rice and stir well till sugar melts.

add sugar, saffron and milk

Step 5. Add soaked saffron (along with milk) and dry fruits and a pinch of salt to it, stir occasionally to avoid sticking to bottom.

add dry fruits

Step 6. Add lemon juice and mix well. Switch off the stove when consistency becomes thicker than payasa. 


Step 7. Enjoy!

Kesari bath

Special thanks to my best friend Soumya for this sweet havyaka recipe and pictures. Try and let me know your experience. Till next post, take care.


  1. Thumbs chenagi banthu nice recipy thank you

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