Saffron Rice

October 03, 2019

**Updated Post**

Perfect and elegant side dish to compliment your Middle-eastern, North African or Indian cuisines.

saffron rice recipe

This is another updated post of my 2010.

I have cooked this saffron rice umpteenth time.
I love to pair saffron rice with braised lamb shanks.

Elegant yellow saffron rice goes perfectly well with any Middle-eastern, North Africa and Indian cuisine.

What is saffron?

Saffron is considered the most expensive spice ever!

Its red threadlike stigma (as per photo below).
But once soaked in hot water, saffron will impart a gorgeous yellow hue.

Saffron is obtained from crocus sativus plant.


Why is saffron expensive?

Cultivating and collecting saffron is a labour intensive process.

Croci grow very close to the ground, in order to cultivate crocus, one has to be closed to the ground too, ie squatting down for hours!

I, for sure will not be able to do so.

The crimson red stigmas are so delicate that no machine will be able to do a good job as human hands!!!

Hence I appreciate every strand and every stigma of saffron that I was about to cook with.

Where to Buy Saffron?

Try middle-eastern grocer near you.

I will definitely not buy from my local grocer, its just too expensive.

And I will AVOID buying any synthetic saffron... the grounded yellow powder, labelled as saffron!

It could be turmeric with saffron essence for all you know (Disclaimer: I am not saying that it is!!)

how to wash rice

What does saffron rice taste like?

Saffron has a subtle taste and aroma.

Some say it has some kind of floral aroma to it.
For me, dried saffron has no smell, possibly too faint an aroma for my nose to notice!

But once you infused saffron in hot water, I could smell the saffron quite strongly.
However, its not floral to me, its hard to describe :( though.

Do not be too generous in using saffron.
A pinch of saffron goes a long way.

The whole house will be filled with saffron-like aroma for the entire day.

Best use Basmati rice.

saffron rice with lamb shank image

What dish goes well with saffron?

My go to dish to pair with saffron rice is definitely slow cooked lamb shanks.

Saffron is a must in paella and bouillabaisse.

Another favourite is to make Ottolenghi's saffron and yoghurt dressings.

It is so good :D.

cooking saffron rice in rice cooker

Other recipes with Saffron

Saffron and Rosewater Ice-cream
Creme Brulee With Cardamom and Saffron

Learn to make this simple aromatic saffron infused rice.  Its perfect and elegant side dish to compliment your Middle-eastern or Indian food


  1. The rice must have tasted wonderful with both garlic and saffron. Excellent click too!


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