Saffron chelow rice

Saffron chelow rice

By
From
Saraban
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

Saffron is often used as a garnish to liven up plain white chelow rice. The classic presentation is described below, but an alternative method that we like is to drizzle saffron liquid over the parboiled rice before steaming, which creates a pretty marbled effect through the rice as it cooks.

In Iran, it’s rare to see whole saffron threads in rice dishes. Saffron is nearly always used in powder form and steeped in a little water to create a saffron liquid. We prefer to buy the best-quality saffron threads we can find and grind them as called for. (If you need more than 2 tablespoons saffron liquid, simply allow 10 saffron threads per each extra 1 tablespoon boiling water and proceed as below.) If you’d rather, however, you can use ¼ teaspoon saffron powder – just mix it with the boiling water and proceed as described below.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
water
300g basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
70ml vegetable oil
40g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons Saffron liquid

Method

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch.
  2. Strain the rice, rinsing it again with warm water. Bring 2 litres water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and stir in the strained rice. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Test the rice by pinching a grain between your fingers or by biting it. It should be soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre. Strain the rice and rinse again with warm water. Toss it several times to drain away as much of the water as you can.
  3. Return the saucepan to a medium heat and add the oil and 2 tablespoons water. As soon as the oil begins to sizzle, spoon in enough rice to cover the base of the saucepan in a thin layer, then spoon in the rest of the rice gradually, building it up into a pyramid. Don’t tip it all in at once, as this will squash the rice and you won’t achieve the proper fluffy lightness. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke 5 or 6 holes down through the rice to the base of the pan to help it steam. Mix 2 tablespoons warm water with the melted butter and drizzle this over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tea towel and cover the pan as tightly as you can.
  4. Leave the pan on a medium–high heat for a 2–3 minutes until the rice is visibly steaming – you will see puffs of steam escaping from the edges of the pan. Turn the heat down to low and leave the pan alone for 40 minutes. Resist the temptation to peek, as this releases the steam and affects the cooking time. The rice can actually sit quite happily over the lowest possible heat for another 20 minutes or so.
  5. Just before serving, remove 2–3 tablespoons cooked rice and mix with the saffron liquid in a small bowl. Set this saffron rice aside to use as garnish.
  6. When ready to serve, sit the saucepan in a little cold water in the sink; the sudden change in temperature creates a surge of steam that ‘shocks’ the rice and makes it shrink from the sides, which loosens the crusty bottom.
  7. To serve, invert the pan onto a warm serving platter so that the rice plops out as one glorious, golden-capped mound. Sprinkle on the saffron and serve the tah-deeg separately.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again