Yummy Sweet Saffron Rice

Sweet Rice with Saffron

Have you ever tried Sweet Saffron Rice before? No we are not referring to the glutinous type of rice that is mostly grown in East Asia, Southeast, Bhutan and Northeastern India, commonly known as the sticky or sweet rice. Let us tell you about the simply amazing recipe of Sweet Saffron Rice made with the perfect balance of rice and sugar syrup with the infusion of the bold and earthy flavours and the goodness of pure Saffron threads.

This recipe is native to the Indian Sub-continent where people usually relish the sweetness of this classic marvel during weekends and festivals. Traditionally this recipe is referred to as “Zarda”. This term is derived from the Persian word “Zard” which means yellow. This enchanting dish features a sunny bright yellow colour hence given the name “Zarda” or “Sweet Rice”. The recipe is very easy to make and hardly takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Serving size: The recipe yields 4 servings.

Sweet Saffron Rice Ingredients

  • Long grain or Basmati Rice (1 cup)
  • Water (1 ¾ cups)
  • Ghee or Clarified Butter (2 tablespoons)
  • Milk (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Cinnamon (1 long stick)
  • Sugar (1/2 cup) or a sweetener of your choice
  • Premium quality Saffron threads (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Cloves (4 whole pieces)
  • Coarsely crushed Green Cardamom seeds (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Sliced Almonds and Pistachios (3 tablespoons)
  • Raisins (1 tablespoon)
  • Sea Salt (1 tablespoon)

Preparation of Sweet Rice

Soak 1 cup rice in water and add sea salt to it. This will remove all the dirt and debris from your rice and add nutrients to it. After 15 minutes, rinse it properly and then drain the water. This step is very important and cannot be skipped. The prime reason for this is that rinsing rice removes starch from the surface of rice grain. Skipping this step may result in making your rice gummy as they are cooked. Besides, soaking rice in water may speed up the cooking process as the rice starts absorbing water while being soaked.

Cooking Instructions

  • You can start the process by roasting pistachios, raisins and almonds in a pan. Keep the heat medium-low and toss the nuts until they become crisp and fragrant. You will also notice a colour change and that the raisins are puffed which exhibits that the nuts are ready. Remove the pan from the stove and set them aside.
  • Now take a big saucepan and pour 1 ¾ cups of water in it. Add a pinch or two of salt, 1 whole cinnamon stick and rice into it. Stir it gently and occasionally and bring the water to boil over medium to high heat. Stir it gently so that the rice does not boil over.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Now let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is evaporated.
  • Meanwhile, you can start preparing the sugar syrup. For this, all you need to do is to put butter, milk, cloves, Saffron threads, sugar, and green cardamom seeds in a separate pan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a boil and continue cooking it until the sugar is dissolved and all the ingredients are well-combined. Once, it is done, remove the pan from heat and set it aside until your rice is cooked.
  • The next step is to assemble all three mixtures. For this, add roasted nuts and milk, sugar and saffron syrup to rice.
  • Now you have to gently fold the rice to avoid the delicately cooked rice grains to break. Once they are all well-mixed, cover the pan with a lid one more time and let it simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes.

And Voila! Your Sweet Saffron Rice is all-ready to eat. Fluff the rice using a fork and then plate it nicely. You can also garnish it with some sliced almonds and pistachios to make it look extra luscious and presentable.


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