Mediterranean Saffron Rice OR Pilaf is a flavorful and easy fried rice recipe. Basmati Rice is flavored with dried strands of Saffron soaked in Milk and is cooked along with whole spices, Nuts, and Berries. This has a nutty taste to it. Also, there is the warmth of spices and a hint of sweetness which makes this taste so good. 😍😍
This gets ready in just 30 minutes and can be cooked on the Instant Pot, Stovetop, or Microwave. Have you tried this Pineapple Fried rice?
Hey friends, So today I'll be sharing this amazing Vegetarian Pilaf recipe. Call it Pilaf or Pulao this Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Rice Recipe is one that's a keeper. It's such a simple recipe filled with aromatic spices and flavors, every bite of this feels like a royal tour to the gorgeous Middle East.😇🥰
Growing up in India, Pulao has been such an integral part of my life. We use to serve this along with Chicken Curry on special occasions. Also, Pulao is one such recipe that is modified in every home in the middle east and Indian subcontinent.
While in the Northern Indian States, especially Kashmir, this is made with fruits and cottage cheese, and in other places like Bengal, Pulao is made with Cashew Nuts and Raisins and is known as Basanti Pulao.😇
In the Middle East, especially Iran, this same Pulao is known as Pilaf. While the rice remains the same - Long grain Basmati Rice, however, the preparation is slightly different.
Persian cuisine involves a lot of nuts and berries like Figs and Apricots in their cooking and so these Berries and Nuts like Walnuts or Almonds are included in this very special Pilaf. Also, Saffron is heavily used in Persian cuisine. Along with Saffron, whole spices like Bay Leaf, Cumin, and Cinnamon is used to flavor the Saffron rice.😍😍😍
This Mediterranean Saffron Rice is an extremely delicious and easy rice pilaf recipe that goes especially well with Grilled Chicken or this Harissa Chicken which I love and a Side Salad. You can also serve this rice recipe for dinner with Honey Garlic Salmon or Easy Honey Soy Salmon or Sesame Chicken or Honey Mustard Chicken Stir Fry orSweet & Spicy Honey Sriracha Chicken
👩🍳 How to make Mediterranean Saffron Rice or Pilaf
- First:- Soak the Rice. Here you will have to use Long Grained Basmati Rice. Basmati Rice is very aromatic and tastes excellent in this Saffron rice. This is the best choice for Middle Eastern Pilaf or Indian Pulao.
- Second:- Flavor the Oil: Heat some olive oil in a pan. Ideally, you should be using Clarified Butter, but for a healthier alternative, I have used Olive Oil. As the Oil shimmers, add the Bay Leaf, Cinnamon Stick, and Cumin Seeds.
- As the oil gets flavored with these whole spices and it starts to get aromatic, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook both of these until the Onions start to caramelize.
- Finally:- Add Rice: Add the Drained and Rinsed Basmati rice along with a teaspoon of Turmeric. Saute the rice over medium-high heat so that it gets evenly fried.
- Add Milk & Saffron: As the rice gets fried, add some milk and few strands of Saffron. Also, add 4 cups of Vegetable Broth or Hot water. Add few Raisins and cover cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish & Serve: Once the rice gets cooked, fluff with a fork. Add chopped Berries and Almond Slivers. Also, add few chopped Pistachios and mint leaves. Serve hot
💯 Some Important Tips to cook Mediterranean Saffron Rice or Pilaf
- Always use Basmati Rice. This is long-grained rice and available at Indian or Middle Eastern Grocery Stores. You can also find this online.
- Use good quality Saffron. Saffron should be blood red in color and should be extremely aromatic. Be careful of people selling cheap quality saffron which are just dyed with color. A typical Saffron Trademark is the aroma.
- Add hot milk along with Saffron to help it release its flavors and color.
- The ratio of rice to water (or broth) is 1: 2. Do not use more water. This will make the rice starchy.
- You can use Fruits like chopped Apricots or dried Cranberries or Pomegranate seeds in this Pilaf.
- You can use Nuts like Chopped Walnuts (can replace with Pecan Nuts) or Pistachios and Almond in the Pilaf.
- If you do not find Saffron, skip it and use 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Turmeric.
- If you are unable to find Cumin Seeds and Cinnamon Bark, go ahead and use ground Cumin and ground Cinnamon as a replacement. Quantity will be 1/2 teaspoon for 1 cup of Basmati Rice
So, this is how you make Mediterranean Saffron Rice. I hope you like this recipe. If you happen to make this recipe, then comment below and rate this recipe. Also, tag me with #recipemagik on Instagram.
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Mediterranean Saffron Rice - Pilaf Recipe
- 2 cups Basmati Rice long grained rice. (soaked for 20-30 min)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium sized Onion finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 dried Bay Leaves
- ½ inch Cinnamon Stick or 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Seeds or 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 4 cups Hot Water or Vegetable Broth
- 2 tablespoon Warm Milk
- 1 teaspoon Saffron Strands
- 1 Handful Raisins optional
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper as per taste
- ½ cup Berries & Fruits chopped Apricots & Cranberries
- ¼ cup Chopped Almonds
- 1 Handful Chopped Pistachios
- 2-3 sprigs Mint Leaves
- Soak the Basmati Rice in warm water for 20-30 minutes. After, soaking, drain the water and rinse the rice.
- Meanwhile, Heat Olive Oil in a Pan. As the Oil Shimmers, add the Dried Bay Leaves, dried Cumin, and Cinnamon Stick. As the oil gets flavored with these whole spices and gets aromatic, add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes or just until the Onions start to caramelize.
- Now, add the Turmeric Powder and stir well. Also, add the drained and rinsed rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Add water or broth. Also, add the chopped Fruits and Raisins. Also, add the saffron strands along with some warm milk. Season with Salt and Pepper as per taste. Cover cook for 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat or until the rice puffs up and soaks up all the moisture.
- After the rice gets cooked, fluff with a fork. Garnish with chopped Nuts of your choice and few freshly chopped Mint Leaves. Serve hot.
- You can use chopped Apricots or chopped Pineapples
- You can use dried Cranberries as well
- You can use Figs as well
- For Nuts, you can use Walnuts or Pecan Nuts or Pine Nuts or Cashew Nuts or Almonds, and Pistachios.
- You can cover and refrigerate this rice for 3-4 days. Reheat before serving.
- You can find Saffron in Middle Eastern Stores or Indian Stores or Amazon.
- If you cannot find Saffron, replace it with Turmeric Powder