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    Jewelled saffron rice

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    Jewelled saffron rice

    • Vegetarian
    • Gluten Free
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus infusing, soaking and resting
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 50 minutes, plus infusing, soaking and resting

    Serves: 6


    ½ tsp saffron threads
    300g basmati rice, well rinsed
    60g unsalted butter
    8 cardamom pods
    2 cinnamon sticks
    2 bay leaves
    ¾ tsp salt
    50g pistachios, toasted to lightly golden
    50g pumpkin seeds, toasted to lightly golden
    80g dried cranberries
    50g dried apricots, finely chopped 
    2 tbsp orange zest
    2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
    1½ tbsp dill, finely chopped
    2 tbsp pomegranate seeds


    1. Infuse the saffron in 80ml boiling water for up to 1 hour. Leave the rinsed rice to stand in lukewarm water for 30 minutes, running your fingers through the rice every so often to help release the starch. Drain the rice and rinse one final time.

    2. Melt 20g butter in a large pan over a medium heat and add the cardamom and cinnamon, stirring for a few minutes to infuse. Add the drained rice, bay leaves and salt, then stir to coat and top up with 800ml water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a rolling simmer for 3-4 minutes, until most of the liquid at the surface has evaporated. Wrap the pan lid in a clean tea towel and cover the pan as tightly as possible. Turn the heat as low as it will go and cook for 12 minutes, then set aside and stand for 5 minutes.

    3. Uncover the rice and fluff it up with a fork. Discard the whole spices and divide the rice into 2 bowls. Mix the saffron water and 20g butter into one of the bowls. Mix the nuts, seeds, dried fruit, orange zest, herbs and remaining 20g butter into the other bowl; season both. Just before serving, mix very lightly together and scatter with the pomegranate seeds.

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Food, June 2018 issue. Download the Waitrose Food app for the full issue


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