As kids, Sundays were always special because my mother would make special lunch for the entire family. I was the eager beaver, toiling outside the kitchen, taking in all the aroma, and waiting to catch a glimpse of the food before everyone else. Somehow, I could not bear the anxiety of not knowing what was cooking! Life was so simple, we derived pleasure from the little nothings in life. Times might have changed now but  certain things never change, things like a mother's eternal love for her children. Away from my city, I miss the warmth of my home, and most of all I miss my mother. I know she misses me too, deep down she is sad too but she is the courageous one, always smiling and reassuring. She is the one who has inspired me to always live with gumption and never give up. In such emotionally vulnerable times, I find comfort in cooking and making my mother's special recipes makes me feel closer to her.

This Sunday, while I was reminiscing the good old days, I made this classic from my mother's kitchen, the simple yet delicious 'Saffron Rice'. It is a sweet and fragrant rice dish that has the subtle flavor of saffron infused in basmati rice, the nuts and raisins further enhance the gorgeousness of this awesome dish. It goes very well with rich and spicy vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian sides because the sugar in it balances out the heat of the side dish. We had it with our favorite 'Sunday Mutton Curry' and 'Garden salad'. While I was cooking, my little one did not leave my side for once. Probably the aroma was hard to resist! Didn't I say certain things never change?

Cuisine: Indian
Category: Vegetarian
Preparation time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 5
  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • few strands of saffron
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of cashew nuts and raisins
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 1 stick of cinnamon about 2" long
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 red/green chilies

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in water for 20 mins.
  2. Boil the milk and soak the saffron strands in it for steeping.
  3. Put around 12-14 cups water in a large heavy-bottomed vessel and let it boil. When the water starts bubbling, put in the rice. Cook the rice al-dente and strain it. Spread the rice on a big plate and let it air dry. 
  4. In a wok, add 2 tbsp ghee. When the ghee heats up, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cinnamon.
  5. When the whole spices crackle, add the cashew nuts and raisins. Fry for a minute.
  6. Add the ginger paste and lower the gas flame. Stir continuously.
  7. Add the cooked rice, saffron milk, and salt. Mix everything lightly, making sure not to break the rice grains in the process.
  8. Add the sugar, garam masala, and plug in the chilies. Cover with a lid. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Remove the lid, add the remaining ghee, and lightly mix everything.
  10. Serve hot.
Chef's notes:
  • I cooked the rice in my pasta pot because it is very easy to strain and the rice comes out perfectly fluffy. It took me 10 minutes to cook the rice to my desired level.
  • Time to cook the rice may vary based on the age and variety of rice.
  • Add more ghee if you prefer.
  • Choosing good quality saffron can make a lot of difference in the taste.


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