There is a reason why everyone loves saffron rice! The subtle, savory saffron flavor compliments the variety of rich flavors of the dishes its served with. It tastes buttery, even though it’s dairy free. It’s super easy to make for a large crowd, and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. It’s also very pretty and festive.
I don’t make it often though. I keep it reserved as something sacred and divine for special days (duh!). And I serve it with something royal and rich like Malai Kofta or Punjabi Kadhi etc. In Hindi it can be called as Zafrani Pulavo (Zafran means saffron and pulao is the name of any rice dish with vegetables or tempering)
This time when I prepared it, I had nothing to pair it with. So I went ahead and added broccoli to rice itself, thinking (and secretly praying!) that hopefully it won’t over power the flavours from Saffron. And I would be able to persuade S to have it without any sides. You know how fussy he is with his rice.
But it was a total hit, thankfully. He ate it with all the broccoli in it (he doesn’t like broccoli at all).. and helped himself with a second serving as well. That was something!
Its such a simple dish, and can be had on its own. You may pair it with any raita (spiced yogurt) or a simple dal (lentil soups) as well. It was good for a change, not having this with any rich curry. Keeping it simple and light so very good for weekdays dinner and lunches.
Since I have struggled with the making a few times, here are a few tips to get the right mix of flavour and texture with Saffron rice:
Invest in good quality saffron. I say invest, because saffron can be very pricey. You only use a small amount, so it will go a long way.
Don’t omit the salt… the combination of salt, saffron, and caramelized onions gives this rice a rice, buttery flavor. You won’t believe there’s no dairy when you taste it.
Buy good quality white basmati rice; don’t substitute with smaller variety or brown rice. The flavor and texture won’t be the same.
On to the recipe now.
What you need?
- 1 cup Basmati long grain rice (about 200 gms)
- 2 tbsp oil- Any non-pungent oil
- 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
- ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cup broccoli florets, small
- 1 ½ cup vegetable stock – Or as required
- Salt- as required
How to make?
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add bay leaves and spring onions, fry until softened. Add the rice and saffron, toss well in the oil and let it sauté at low flame for about 2 minutes.
Add the water and broccoli, bring to the boil and cover with lid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
you may substitute vegetable stock with plain water but then you would need more spices to be added to the rice. If you are not using stock at all, add ½ tsp turmeric and ½ tsp red chili powder in the making to get the lovely colour and flavour.
broccoli can be replaced with sweet corns, beans, green peas etc. in this rice.
You may wish to add garlic to the dish, I sometimes add it for extra punch. The saffron flavour, however diminishes a bit in that case.
If you liking one pot rice recipes, you must try this Mexican Brown rice and Quinoa casserole. Its an awesome blend of flavours and nutrition.