Sweet Saffron Rice

Course : Curry
Serves: 4
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1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons boiling water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 whole cloves
6 medium green cardamom pods -- bruised
1 piece cinnamon stick -- 3-inch
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt -- to taste
1 bunch parsley sprigs -- for garnish

Preparation / Directions:

Place rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Put rice in a bowl with 2-1/2 cups water and soak 30 minutes. Put saffron in a small bowl, add boiling water and soak. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan, add cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon and cook 1 minute. Drain rice and reserve the soaking water. Add rice to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until opaque and light golden. Stir in reserved water, saffron and its soaking water, raisins, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until liquid is absorbed and rice is very tender. Remove spices before serving. Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Notes: The whole spices in the rice are not meant to be eaten. *Bruise the cardamom pods by placing in a plastic bag and smashing slightly with a rolling pin or hammer.

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