Saffron Rice? You’re probably thinking to yourself that I’m some kind of high roller to just be casually eating saffron rice on a weeknight. Well, let me tell you about a secret that you may or may not have already come across, but for me, it was totally life changing.
One day, with my Mom, of course, we walked into our neighborhood HomeGoods store to look around. I rarely actually buy things, but I love to look. We walked past the crystalware on the left, tablecloths, cloth napkins, and we arrived at my favorite spot of the store: the gourmet ingredients section. My mom moved onto decorative pillows, her vice, and I stooped down to scour the shelves. I didn’t see anything exciting until I moved a few of the first tier ingredients aside and got to the second layer. And there it was! SAFFRON. At the very reasonable price of about $6.99. Mind you, the current price per ounce for saffron $355.00. Can someone tell me why saffron is so expensive?! So I looked around, snuck it into the cart, and met my mom in pillows. Since that day, every time I walk into a HomeGoods I rush over to the gourmet foods section, and almost without fail, find an inexpensive small glass jar of saffron.
Saffron not only gives beautiful color to dishes, but it also gives each dish a very distinct taste. Honestly, for me, I am not even sure how to describe this taste to someone who has never tried it, but once you’ve tasted it, you can instantly recognize it. This saffron rice is really meant to truly highlight the saffron, so I wanted to keep it a simple recipe.
Notes: I have a rice cooker and use it almost daily, but I have included instructions for both using the rice cooker and the stovetop. I am a strong proponent of the rice cooker if you make rice at least once a week. Rinsing the rice is critical in this recipe, because it gets kind of ruined if you end up with sticky rice.
- 1 large pinch of Saffron Strands
- 2 1/4 cups of water
- 2 cups of rice
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- measuring cup
- spoon for mixing
- fine mesh strainer/colander
- rice cooker or pot
- fork for fluffing
- Pour a small amount, like 1/4 cup, of hot water (it can be from the tap) into your measuring cup.
- Grab the saffron strands in your hands, and over the water in the measuring cup, crush the saffron. Mix the water and the saffron with a spoon, and set aside for a few minutes, while you are rinsing the rice. This helps make a saffron infused water, which helps the yellow color disperse better in the rice.
- Rinse all for the rice in the strainer very well, until the water that is draining is completely clear.
- Fill up the measuring cup so that you have a total of 2 1/4 cups of water, including the saffron infused water that you added earlier.
- If you are cooking in a rice cooker, put the rice in the cooker, stir in the oil and salt to evenly distribute. If you are cooking this on the stovetop, then go to Step 7.
- In the rice cooker, add the onion powder and saffron/water mixture to the pot, close, and cook according to the manufacturer’s directions for white rice. Go to Step 13.
- On the stove, over medium heat, heat up the oil until it begins to shimmer.
- Add the rice and salt, stirring it all together to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Cook the rice for about 30 seconds-1 minute, until the rice begins to become more opaque.
- Add the saffron mixture, onion powder, and water, and bring the pot to a boil.
- Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cover the pot.
- Cook the rice for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has completely cooked and the water has evaporated.
- Fluff the rice with a fork.
- Serve with Cuban Pork Tenderloin or Cuban Fried Chicken and enjoy!