Kesar Chawal (Rice With Saffron)

Course : Curry
Serves: 1
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1 cup long grain Indian Basmati rice
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt -- to taste
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
1 piece bay leaf
2 sticks cinnamon -- (2 inch)
4 medium green cardamoms
15 pieces paneer -- (cottage cheese), cubed
1/3 cup raisins
10 pieces cashew nuts
1 tablespoons a little hot milk
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
2 Cup oil -- for frying

Preparation / Directions:

Wash rice thoroughly and soak in water for half an hour. Drain thoroughly. Soak saffron in a little hot milk for about 15 minutes, until milk is a deep orange-yellow color. You may vary the quantity of saffron, depending upon it's quality. If the quality is not very good, you may need a little more saffron to achieve this color and vice versa. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the cashew nuts until golden. Drain and set aside. Next, fry the paneer cubes, until light golden, drain and set aside. In a pan, heat ghee or clarified butter. Add the bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon. Add the rice. Add salt. Stir until ghee coats every grain of rice and rice looks glossy. Add warm water. Bring to a boil. Add the raisins. Stir once. Reduce heat to minimum and cover the pan with a lid. Leave a little gap, otherwise water will boil over. When holes appear on the surface and water has almost evaporated, lightly fork in the paneer cubes. Sprinkle the saffron liquid on top. When water has completely evaporated, fork the rice out onto a serving dish. This will separate each grain out. This rice will have a beautiful mix of white and yellow and half colored grains. Garnish with fried cashew nuts. Serve hot with any creamy curry

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