Steamy, filling and very aromatic, Persian Saffron Rice is mainly prepared using plain Basmati rice, caramelised onions and saffron strands. It is a savoury dish with a pleasant yellow colour that is sure to pep up your party menu as well. Here is how to make it.
Whenever I host a party or get together at home, I make sure that each and every dish in my menu is just perfect.
Along with being perfect, it is also necessary that every time I host a party, the menu should be different from the previous one.
There are days when I get into a dilemma on what to make and but our Indian cuisine is so huge, that I do find some equally delicious.
Just for my last party, when I was thinking what to make for the rice accompaniment, this Saffron Rice came to my mind.
Beautifully flavoured with saffron strands and vegetable broth, this rice with saffron is very easy to make and gets ready in no time.
As the theme was Mughlai, I wanted something that has that royal and rich touch, and this saffron yellow rice just seemed perfect.
It turned out so flavourful, that it was a hit among my friends and family.
It paired so well with the rich and creamy Curries and Dals, that now it has become a regular for my weekend meals too.
About this recipe
It is basically rice cooked with saffron. It is very flavourful and yellow in color due to the generous use of saffron to make it.
There are many variations of it and different regions make it in different ways. India has saffron or zafrani rice which is sometimes made sweet and sometimes savory.
The Indian version is served with rich curries like butter chicken or malai chicken and is mostly made using long grain basmati rice.
The Trinidad Saffron Rice is Caribbean style preparation where rice is cooked with coconut oil, veggies, and raisins.
The saffron they refer to is not the spice saffron, but the color saffron as the rice is tinted yellow from turmeric powder.
Then there is an Italian version which has lots of Parmesan Cheese in it and Spanish rice with saffron with tomatoes and bell peppers.
Persian or Middle Eastern version is a soothing rice-based accompaniment that is prominently made in Persian cuisine.
The long grain basmati rice is flavored with saffron strands and cooked in a vegetable or chicken broth to lend a fabulous flavor and aroma to the resulting dish.
This Persian Rice is
- Easy to make
- It comes together in less than 30 minutes.
You can serve this Saffron Yellow Rice as a side dish with any gravy, sautéed vegetables, kebabs or grilled chicken.
Any Middle Eastern flavor main course can be paired with this rice.
You can also serve it with creamy and rich Indian Curries and Dals for that royal feast.
Pro Tips by Neha
Use the best quality, Saffron. Saffron is a very expensive ingredient and a lot of people sell fake Saffron which looks exactly like the real one but the flavor is no match.
Make sure to buy Saffron from a trusted source.
For a more profound saffron flavor, you can soak the saffron in 1 tbsp warm water for 5-6 hours.
Use Long Grain Basmati Rice to make this recipe. The flavor and texture of this rice is unmatchable.
Make sure to rinse the rice to get fluffiest cooked rice.
You can also use brown rice to make Saffron Brown Rice. It will be healthier but the taste will be definitely not like when made with basmati rice.
Also if using brown rice, the cooking time and amount of water used will be slightly more than white rice.
Jasmine rice works well in this recipe too. Treat it just like basmati rice.
The amount of liquid used to cook the rice should be accurate. If it’s more, the rice will turn out mushy and if it’s less, it will burn.
Cook the rice on very low heat and tightly covered. It will make sure the resulting rice is fluffy and nicely cooked.
Do not disturb the rice while cooking. Do not open the lid otherwise, the steam will escape and rice will not cook properly.
You can also cook Saffron Rice in a rice cooker if you wish to.
You can make this rice with peas too.
How to make it in Rice Cooker?
Add all the ingredients in the pot of the rice cooker and close the lid. Cook until rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed.
How to make it with Cauliflower Rice?
To make a healthier version of this rice, you can replace the rice grains with cauliflower rice which basically is grated cauliflower.
To make Cauliflower Saffron Rice, reduce the amount of broth to 2 tbsp and make a stir fry kind of rice using the below-mentioned ingredients and recipe.
How to make it with chicken?
To make saffron rice with chicken, saute the chicken pieces until browned from both sides in butter and then add the rice and the remaining ingredients.
You can make this rice with lamb, fish or shrimp too.
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Step By Step Recipe
Heat butter in a pan.
Once the butter is hot, add the rice and saute it for a minute.
Add vegetable broth, saffron, and salt to taste.
Cover the pan and cook the rice on low heat for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice gently with a fork.
Garnish with caramelized onions.
Persian Saffron Rice Recipe
- 2 cups Long Grain Basmati Rice
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 pinch Saffron
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Caramelised Onion
- Wash the rice nicely. and drain the water.
- Heat butter in a pan.
- Once the butter is hot, add the rice and saute it for a minute.
- Add broth, saffron and salt to taste.
- Cover the pan and cook the rice on low heat for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the rice gently with a fork.
- Garnish with caramelised onions.
- Serve with any gravy.