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Persian Style Saffron Rice

This persian style saffron rice is a rich and delicious rice dish flavoured with dry fruits and infused with the fragrance of saffron and whole spices. It owes its heritage to the rich culinary legacy left by the Mughal Emperors who ruled the Indian sub-continent in the 16th century. When they first came to India to rule they also brought with them the persian culinary traditions in the lavish use of saffron and dry fruits and indian cooking styles began to be infused with persian flavours because of them.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Servings 2 People



  • 1 cup basmati Rice
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp salt or as per taste
  • 4 tbs milk
  • 1/2 tbs unsalted butter (for saffron butter water)

For the tempering:

  • 4 almonds blanched and halved
  • 4 cashew nuts halved
  • 1 walnut chopped small pieces
  • 1 tbs pine nuts
  • 1 tbs golden raisins
  • 2 dried apricots sliced
  • 1 dried fig chopped optional
  • fresh pomegranate arils for garnish
  • fresh mint leaves optional
  • 1 tbs butter or 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbs sliced onions



  • Prepare rice following instructions in the recipe for saffron rice.
  • Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle and put it in 1/8 cup of hot water. Add a tablespoon of butter to saffron water (saffron dissolved in hot water). Drizzle the saffron butter water on the rice in a circle.
  • For the tempering, add olive oil and butter to the saucepan on medium heat. Toss in the whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, green and black cardamoms and cinnamon) immediately followed by the sliced onions. Sauté them until lightly golden. Now add all the nuts and dried fruits and as soon as they start to swell, switch off the stove and pour the tempering on the saffron rice in the pot. Add a few fresh mint leaves ands steam the rice for 2-3 minutes.
  • When done, mix the rice gently by turning it over from the bottom and lightly fluffing it with a plastic or silicone spatula. I use the rice cooker spatula and find it very convenient for fluffing the rice. The rice gets coloured and infused with the saffron after mixing.  Serve the rice hot on a serving platter garnishing with pomegranate arils on top. It looks so beautiful and is so delicious!


1. Take care not to burn the nuts and the onions.
2.Before pouring the tempering into the pot, you could reserve a few fried dry fruits for garnish.
3. You could dissolve the saffron in water or milk. Dissolving it in milk gives a lighter yellow colour whereas the saffron dissolved in water gives an orange tint to the rice. It depends on personal choice.
Keyword aromatic rice, flavoured rice, Persian rice, Saffron, saffron rice
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