Cooking with Saffron: Saffron Rice Pudding


| December/January 2011



saffron 3

When all the flowers in your garden are dying and succumbing to early frosts, imagine waking up to a burst of bright purple, yellow and crimson. Imagine, too, the money you will save by growing, harvesting and toasting your very own saffron.


Photo by Susan A. Roth

Known as kheer in India and Pakistan and as sholeh zard in Iran, saffron-infused rice pudding is a dessert fit for a queen. Once you’ve made it, you won’t want rice pudding any other way.  

• 8 to 10 saffron threads
• 1/3 cup warm milk
• 1/2 cup basmati rice
• 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
• 2 tablespoons flaked almonds or yellow sultanas OR 1 tablespoon chopped cashews or sliced pistachios
• 4 cups milk
• 3 bruised cardamom pods
• 1/2 cup sugar

1. Soak saffron threads in 1/3 cup milk for 20 minutes.

2. Rinse rice until it runs clear.

3. Melt ghee or butter in a skillet (if using butter, add a little olive or vegetable oil to stop butter from burning) and toast the nuts or sultanas. Remove from skillet.

4. Heat 4 cups milk in a separate, heavy-bottomed pan.





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