'Saffron' is one of the top 10 exotic food ingredients in the world.It has a straw-like fragnence and gives a bright crimson color to a dish.When I was a kid,somebody gave a box of saffron and to use it up, every night my grandma gives 'saffron milk'.I hated that smell and comment 'eww..it smells like an expired medicine'..ha ha..but now I love it.I use them in almost every Indian pudding I make.But the sad thing is,its damn expensive.There is also a myth prevailing about this saffron that whoever takes this spice mixed in milk,will soon get a fairer complexion.I have even seen families feeding the pregnant women with this milk for getting a fair complexioned baby.Whatever,it looks so adorable.I just use them for giving a rich appeal to the dish..
A small box of Kashmiri Saffron cost(Taj Mahal brand) around 300 bucks in India.I really don't wanted to get this by giving such a big money from my pocket.And moreover,my mom considers it utterly fanciful. she believes it doesn't give anything to the dish and she always prevented me from buying it.So last year when my dad came from Kuwait,I secretly asked him to get this from there.He bought me 2 varieties -Iranian and Kashmiri,which i m still using ;)
Last Sunday,we had a complete indulgence in this exquisite saffron pulao.Had this along with Sukki aloo and cucumber raitha.Every scoop of this pulao,reminded me of the Persian splendidness.I wished I must someday have a wonderful Persian feast on the finest Iranian tableware :)
Now over to the recipe..
You will need:
1 cup basmati rice
1 tsp of Saffron strands
1/2 cup of cashew nuts
1/4 cup of raisins
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
A bit of star anise
1 tbsp Butter/ghee
1 big onion ,thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic,finely chopped(optional)
A pinch of turmeric
2 cups of water
Salt as per taste
4 shallots,thinly sliced
2 tbsp of oil
Chopped coriander leaves
Wash and soak the rice for 10-15 mins.
Bring the two cups of water to boil and add the saffron strands.Turn the heat to low.
Simultaneously,heat a kadai and add a tbsp of butter/ghee.
Add the spices and the onion/garlic & cashews .Fry until slight golden brown.Add the raisins.
Fry for 1/2 minute.Add the turmeric powder.Drain rice completely and throw the rice to the onion/spice mixture.Fry for 1/2 minute . the
Pour the saffron water into the rice mixture.Add salt.Bring it boil.Keep it in low heat and cook for 10-12 mins or until done.
When it is cooking,in a separate frying pan,heat oil and fry the onions.Fry until they are crispy and brown.
The onions will be nicely caramelised and gives wonderful flavour and sweetness to the pulao.
Serve the pulao with this caramelised onion and chopped coriander !