Saffron Basmati Rice
by Kate Heyhoe
The deep flavor and color of this rice, cooked with green peas, adds a festive touch to the plate. The rice perfectly complements the savory sauce from the Bengal Lancers Beef Curry Cubes. You can make the rice one or two days before and reheat, or make it a week ahead of time and freeze.
Saffron can make a dish taste medicinal if you add too much. It's also very, very expensive. I use an intense, high-quality Indian saffron and find that somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon of loose threads is the perfect amount for this dish. If you are using less potent saffron, lean toward 1/4 teaspoon.
Another festive party look is to omit the peas and make two batches of rice: one plain and one with saffron. Stir the two batches together for a dish of white rice with lovely yellow grains mingling throughout.
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (see Canned Broth Tip below)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups basmati or long grain rice
1 cup frozen peas
1. To get the most flavor out of saffron, steep it in warm chicken broth. Heat the chicken broth until hot but not boiling (I use a 2 quart Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave). Crumble in the saffron, crushing the stamens, then stir and let steep while you continue with the recipe.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large heavy pot. Cook onion on medium heat, stirring, until soft. Stir in rice and cook until the grains turn opaque and are completely coated, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very, very low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the grains tender, about 20 minutes. Stir with a chopstick and cover again to steam for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork or chopstick before serving. Can be made ahead and reheated.
Canned Broth Tip: If you're making both the Bengal Lancers Beef Curry Cubes and this Saffron Basmati Rice recipe, you'll need two (14-ounce) cans of low-salt chicken broth for both. Use 8 ounces (or 1 cup) in the beef recipe, and the rest for the rice.
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Copyright © 1998, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 1998 and modified November 2006.