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    Saffron Pilaff

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    Saffron Pilaff

    In a pilaff, the rice grains should be fluffy but separate, having absorbed all the fragrant liquid. Serve with delicate seafood stews, grilled meat or fish or aromatic curries

    Serves: 6


    • A large pinch of saffron strands
    • 300g basmati rice
    • 2 shallots, finely sliced
    • 3 cloves
    • 2 allspice berries
    • 4 peppercorns
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 4 tomatoes


    1. Crush the saffron strands between your fingers and mix into 550ml warm water. Rinse the rice under the tap then tip into a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Strain and leave to drip for 10 minutes.
    2. In a large, heavy-based pan, slowly fry the shallots, allspice berries, cloves and peppercorns in the olive oil until the shallots are golden and just beginning to turn crisp. Stir in the drained rice, mixing thoroughly to ensure that each grain is coated in the oil and fry gently for 4 minutes. Add the saffron water, bay leaf and salt, cover and bring up to simmering point. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, cut a small cross at the base of each tomato, then cut out the tough white core beneath its stem. Cover with boiling water for a minute or two, drain and peel. Quarter, and cut away the seeds. You can strain the juice for a vinaigrette, if you wish. Finely dice the tomato and set aside.
    4. Remove the rice from the heat and carefully fold in the diced tomato. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

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