Today’s recipe for Easy Saffron Rice is one that you will turn to time after time, whenever you are looking for a lovely dish to accompany your main course. It is suited to many cuisines and complements multiple styles of cooking main courses – grilling, roasting, sautéing, etc. The beautiful bright yellow color and aromatic saffron combine to give you the perfect side dish.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice because it is labor intensive to gather the stigmas of crocus flowers each fall, with just 3 per flower. Each stigma is plucked by hand with tweezers. It takes 75,000 flowers and their 225,000 stigmas to create a single pound of saffron! Saffron is the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion or a mid-week splurge.
Saffron gives the foods you use it in an unmistakable flavor and a lovely yellow hue. In order to save some money and use less saffron, you can combine a little turmeric with the saffron for a bold yellow color along with the aromatic saffron flavor.
Several ingredients help transform this from a regular rice dish to an exotic treat. Two are pistachios and basmati rice. The nuts add a delightful crunchy bite. The basmati rice imparts its own unique subtle flavor that is enhanced by the saffron. And, of course, including raisins adds a touch of sweetness that elevates the flavors.
The Holi Celebration is also called the Festival of Colors and falls on March 28th this year. My friend, Ansh of Spice Roots wanted to celebrate this beautiful holiday with everyone and the Progressive Eats team is sharing recipes that help usher in spring with its vivid colors, longer days, and the return of sunny days!
I hope you enjoy this Easy Saffron Rice and make it for your family soon. Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll see you next week for Chocolate Monday!
Key Ingredients for Easy Saffron Rice:
- Low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
- Saffron, turmeric, fresh lemon juice, salt
- Long grain white rice, raisins, pistachios
Saffron is expensive, so buy just a small amount and store the leftovers in an airtight container in a dark and cool spot in your kitchen.
I’ve made this recipe vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth, but if all you have on hand in your pantry is chicken stock, feel free to use that instead!
How to make Easy Saffron Rice:
- Place rice in a saucepan with a lid; combine the broth, saffron, turmeric, lemon juice, and salt; bring to a boil
- Cover with the lid, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed
- Move the pot off the heat and leave the lid on; let sit for about 10 minutes to finish steaming the rice
- Fluff with forks, stir in raisins and most of the nuts and scoop out servings; sprinkle top with remaining nuts and serve hot
Don’t be surprised when you see small red specks in your finished dish. This is the saffron and it is a good thing!
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links):
Be sure to use gluten-free stock or broth (vegetable or chicken). That is the most likely place for gluten to hide in this recipe
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. This month’s theme is a Holi Celebration, the Festival of Colors hosted by Ansh of Spice Roots. We have a great mix of celebratory sweet and savory recipes representing light, color, and the arrival of spring. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
- Spiced Mango Drink (Aam Panna) – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Strawberry Lassi – Shockingly Delicious
- Thandai -Aromatic Almond Milk – Spiceroots
- Potato (Aloo) Samosas – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Easy Saffron Rice (Gluten Free) – The Heritage Cook (you are here!)
- 1 cup long grain white jasmine or white basmati rice * such as Lundberg Farms
- 1-1/2 cups low-sodium gluten-free vegetable or chicken stock *
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 tsp
- Pinch kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup raisins, optional (I used golden raisins
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- In a medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, pour the rice in the bottom. In a measuring cup combine the stock with the saffron, turmeric, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the salt. Stir well. Pour the liquid over the rice in the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cover tightly with the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook about 12 to 15 minutes* or according to package directions, until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
- Move the pot off the heat. Without lifting the lid, let rest for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender. The residual heat inside the pot will finish steaming the rice. The rice will stay warm for up to an hour with the lid in place.
- When ready to serve, fluff the rice with two forks. Taste and adjust salt if needed (this will depend on the saltiness of your stock). If the rice gets too salty, stir in another squeeze of lemon juice. Stir in the raisins and most of the pistachios. Sprinkle the top with the remaining nuts. Serve hot.
- Store the leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.
* Check the rice package and make sure the ratio of liquid to rice is what is recommended. Adjust as needed. Cooking times are approximate; again, the package will provide good guidance.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 5gSugar: 36gProtein: 6g
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