Sweet saffron rice

Posted: June 9, 2011 in gluten-free recipes, lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes

This recipe has a long ingredient list, but I actually had all but three things at home already.  I had brown long grain and two white short grains at home but for saffron rice, I wanted the white basmati.  I picked up sticks of butter to make ghee.  And I didn’t have saffron.  It cost $17.  It was the most expensive thing in my grocery cart.  I may never make this again because of that (or I may live without saffron), but I wanted to experiment.

(I obviously copied and pasted from Manjula’s website, because I do not speak Urdu or Hindi.)

source:  Manjula\’s Kitchen

lacto-vegetarian, -gluten

  • 1 cup basmati or long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter  (I made mine from scratch.  Note photo with my cute ghee container.)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads (kaser)
  • 4 whole cloves (laung)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed cardamom seeds (ilachi) (I am using cardamom powder)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sliced or crushed pistachios and almonds (pista, badam) (I used almonds.  I’m partial to them.)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (kishmish)
  1. Dry roast the almonds, pistachios and raisins in a pan on medium heat until the raisins puff and the nuts slightly change color. Set aside.
  2. Put the rice, water, cinnamom stick, and salt in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
  3. When the rice comes to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.
  4. Let the rice cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
  5. While  rice is cooking, in a separate saucepan combine milk, butter, sugar, saffron, cloves and cardamom and bring to boil on medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Add the nuts mixture and sugar syrup over the rice. Fold gently into the rice with a spoon gently to avoid mashing the rice.
  7. Put the cover back over the rice and turn the heat on to very low. Let the rice simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave it covered for another few minutes before serving.

My house ….smells…..AMAZING!  Note to self:  cook rice with a cinnamon stick much more often.  Wow.  And roast almonds just because.  I wish I could post how totally marvelous my house smells right now.

Holy cow, that saffron was worth every penny.  I lied.  I’m so going to make this again.  However, this is really a special occasion rice.  (You probably knew that.  I didn’t.)  My special occasion for this rice is…*drumroll please*:  THURSDAY!

I opened a chardonnay for the rice.  Mark and I are always insisting we’re going to drink white wine in the summer, and we just don’t.  This rice deserved a good bottle of white wine.  Nice chard, too, this Bogle…the butteryness goes so heavenly with the creamy sweet rice.

What I love about this rice is that I’ve had very similar at Indian restaurants.  Actually, what I’ve had is this rice without the saffron and ghee and sugar.  I love this rice because I chopped the almonds myself, and roasted them, and the irregular shapes and that subtle little smokiness that is not in the restaurant rice (clearly they don’t roast the almonds) just adds another little happy in my mouth.

You should totally make this.  Holy cow.  For Christmas or something.  With a bottle of Cakebread Chard or sparkling Tattinger.


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