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Saffron Rice
Saffron is used as a spice that provides crimson-yellow color and subtle earthy flavor to sweet as well as savory dishes. Saffron is obtained from the flower of Crocus Sativa plant, also called as Saffron Crocus.

It's interesting to know that the Saffron Crocus plant flowers in fall and each flower has only 3 threadlike crimson stigmas in the center, which is carefully removed by hand and toasted to dry. This labor-intensive process makes it the world's most expensive spice. To get most from the saffron strands, coarsely grind or crumble the strands into pieces and then steep in lukewarm water or milk for at least 20 minutes. The finer the saffron is the more uniform yellow the food will be.

In this dish, white basmati rice is first fried with unsalted butter and some whole garam masala and then flavored with a pinch of saffron strands that are ground and steeped in lukewarm water. This is one of the easy to cook yet delicious rice recipes.

Happy Cooking!
Serves 4 to 5
White Basmati Rice
1 1/2 cups (8 ounce cup)
Whole Garam Masala
Whole Green Cardamom - 3, Whole Cloves - 5, Whole Cinammon Stick - 1 inch long
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon or according to taste
Unsalted Butter
1 inch cube
1 pinch, about 20 strands
1 3/4
Step 1
Start with coarsely grinding or crumbling the saffron strands and then steeping in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water.
Step 2
Thoroughly rinse the rice 3 to 4 times, until water is clear. Rinsing removes extra starch sticking to the rice grains. Drain water and keep the rice aside.
Step 3
Melt the butter in a pan (that has a tight lid) or pressure cooker pan (if using a pressure cooker) on medium heat. Add the whole garam masala and let it sizzle. Then, add the basmati rice and fry for about a minute until the rice is coated with butter and slightly translucent.
Step 4
Add 1 1/2 cups of water, salt, and steeped saffron along with 1/4 cup of warm water to the rice. Mix well.
Step 5
For cooking rice, the standard rice to water ratio is 1:2, however, this ratio varies with the cooking methods. Rice can be cooked in a pan, pressure cooker, rice cooker, or microwave, and each appliance requires different quantity of water and takes different time to cook.

  • To cook 1 1/2 cup white basmati rice in a pan, add 3 cups of water (2 times the rice). Once the water comes to a boil on high heat, lower the heat and tightly cover the pan. It will take about 15 minutes to cook on low heat.

  • To cook 1 1/2 cup white basmati rice in a pressure cooker, add 1 3/4 cups of water (just 1/4 cup more water than rice). The rice is cooked on 3 whistles on high heat. Remove the cooker from stove, and let the pressure inside the cooker release by itself before opening the lid. This is the fastest method of cooking white rice.

  • To cook 1 1/2 cup white basmati rice in a rice cooker, add 3 cups of water (2 times the rice). It takes about 30 minutes to cook.

  • For cooking in microwave, follow your microwave specific instructions. Usually, to cook 1 1/2 cup white basmati rice, 4 1/2 cups of water (3 times the rice) is needed. It takes about 10 minutes to cook on high with rice uncovered and 15 minutes on medium/medium-low with rice uncovered.

  • In addition to the above cooking methods based on appliances, also make sure to follow the cooking instruction on the rice packaging to get the best flavor and texture.
Step 6
Once Saffron Rice is cooked, immediately transfer it to a wide rice serving tray to avoid rice from sticking with each other. Serve hot with any curry based vegetable or meat dish.

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