Monday, September 7, 2015

Zafrani Pulao / Saffron Rice Pilaf

We had water problems for three consecutive days in our locality. Some people were getting thin flow of water, but since we are in the upper storey, we had none. Thankfully, we started storing water some months ago facing the same problem....and survived the days. But then at the end the second day, we faced water shortage. We could not bathe, could not wash our clothes, could not clean the house...and had to make the cooking to its minimum. Realized from my heart that how much blessed we are when we open the tap and a clean stream of water splashes into our palms and we can feel refreshed by washing our face with it. After completing 3 days, we got some dirty water on the morning of the fourth day. We had to let go of some water and then again our lives became normal.

how to cook saffron pulao recipe

saffron pilaf recipe with step by step pictures

I prefer subtle pulaos. And in that scenario none can beat the Zaffrani Pulao / Saffron Rice Pilaf. No meat, no vegetables...just a faint aroma and you can finish off plates after plate.

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saffron pilaf recipe

saffron pulao recipe

At first I wanted to make Iraninan Saffron Rice, but that was way too subtle for my taste. So I tried to make a softer version of the Zaffrani Biriyani, but there the chicken or mutton flavour will surpass the saffron flavour. 

saffron pulao recipe in english

So, then I settled down with the plain Saffron Pilaf, where I sautéed the onions, whole garam masalas and rice with a good amount of ghee and the cook the rice with saffron and water. As a final touch, I drizzled some saffron soaked milk to have good colour on the rice. I haven’t added any nuts to the pilaf, but you can add it if you want.

simple rice pilaf recipe

Zaffrani Pulao / Saffron Rice Pilaf
Serves 3-4

how to cook rice pilaf

1 and ½ cup of fine Basmati Rice
2 medium onions – sliced (for the pulao / pilaf)
1 medium onion – sliced (for garnishing and topping)
1 inch stick of ginger – minced
15-20 strands of saffron
2 tbsp of warm milk
¼ cup of ghee (or use half oil, half ghee)
1 medium cinnamon stick
3 green cardamoms
3 cloves
1 large bay leaf
5-7 whole black peppercorns
3-4 whole green chillies – slitted
A handful of toasted cashew nuts and raisins (optional)

Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
Soak half of the saffron strands in warm milk for 15-20 minutes.
Heat ghee / oil in a heavy bottomed oven/ handi and add in the cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf and whole black peppercorns.
Sauté for half a minute or until the oil / ghee becomes aromatic. Then add in the sliced onions.
Sauté and cook the onions till they become translucent and the edges start to become golden. We do not need the onions to turn golden brown.
Drain the water from the rice and put the rice into the handi / kadai. Also put in the minced ginger.
Now stir continuously for 2-4 minutes, so that the rice fries a little bit and they don’t stick to the bottom of the handi / pan.
As soon as you get a fine aroma, pour in 2 and ¾ cup of water, 10 saffron strands (which you did not soak in water), whole slitted green chillies and 2-3 tsp salt.
Mix everything and then put cover.
Simmer on medium flame for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked properly. Check by pressing some rice from the pan / handi by your thumb. If they are soft and gets squished immediately, then your rice is cooked.
Take the saffron soaked milk and drizzle that over the rice in a swirling motion. Put cover again and let the pilaf stay like that for 10 minutes more. This will help to evaporate the moisture from the rice.
In a skillet or frying pan heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the other onion till golden brown. Once done, drain the oil and transfer the onions to a separate bowl.
Sprinkle these fried onions with the cashew nuts and raisins over the pilaf / pulao before serving.

Serve Zaffrani Rice / Saffron Rice Pilaf hot with any spicy chicken / mutton / paneer preparation.

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