Saffron Rice

Nura’s recipe

Saffron adds both color and an exotic flavor to white rice.

Servings: Depends on quantity of rice cooked

Ingredients for saffron rice

Chelo ingredients

Several saffron threads

Hot water

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare your rice using the “Basic Rice” method.  

Step 2: While your rice is steaming, grind a pinch of saffron threads with a mortar and pestle. Or, add a dash of salt to the saffron threads in a saucer and grind with the bottom of a glass. Add the ground saffron to 1/2 T. hot water and dissolve.

Step 3: After the rice is done steaming, remove a small portion of the rice from the pot and mix it with the saffron/water. Sprinkle the “orange” rice over the white rice on a platter to create a very festive-looking dish.

Recipe © Nura Amerson 1991

A plate of saffron rice
Saffron rice

Layli’s Reflections

Preparing saffron is a delicate operation; the valuable threads need to be monitored carefully to make sure they don’t leap out of the bowl as they are ground. As they are crushed, the threads release the rare fragrance that makes them so highly prized.

This fragrance carries with it the scent of the crocus flowers from which saffron is harvested. Each purple flower bears three stigmas; these stigmas are the threads used in cooking. It takes 170,000 flowers to produce one pound of saffron, explaining why this spice is by far the world’s most expensive.

Grinding saffron reminds me of a small wooden mortar and pestle that had belonged to Katayoon. My mom lent it to me while I lived in Haifa since I was beginning to cook. Sadly, when I moved apartments, I could not find it. I felt crestfallen to lose this family heirloom. But, at the same time, now a piece of Katayoon is dwelling in the Holy Land.

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