Sweet Saffron Rice (Kesari Bhaat)

Course : Indian
Serves: 4
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1 cup basmati rice
1 dash saffron threads
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 stick cinnamon
5 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup jaggery or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup currants
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preparation / Directions:

Place rice in a strainer and rinse with cool water until water runs clear. Set aside. Place saffron in a small glass bowl, add boiling water and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir together rice, 2 cups water, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (Do not remove cover while cooking.) Remove from heat and set aside. Simmer saffron water, jaggery and cardamom in a small saucepan over low heat until mixture forms a syrup, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over rice. Saute almonds and currants in oil only until currants puff slightly and nuts turn lightly brown. Gently fold into rice mixture, fluff with a fork, and serve. HINT: Substitute 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup for 1/2 cup jaggery and reduce water or broth by 2 tablespoons.

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