Saffron harvested from the flower of crocus sativus is very well known for its great taste and medicinal properties. Ancient Persians knew saffron can be used for treatment of more than 90 different illnesses. The science today seems to be in agreement with the ancient wisdom about this exotic spice. Research has shown that saffron can be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for treatment of many diseases including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and depression.
Saffron is a very expensive spice since the harvest of saffron is pretty labor intensive and is done by hand. One ounce of saffron is more expensive than gold and depending on the grade of saffron, a gram of this exotic spice is sold somewhere between $7 to $9.
You could add saffron to rice or use it to marinade fish, or make pastries. Although saffron is very expensive spice to use, only a pinch of saffron (usually about 15 to 20 threads) is what you need to spice up your dishes.
Saffron has hidden enzymes and nutrients that will be released when grinded and heated. Here are the top steps for brewing saffron:
Wash the rice until the water is clear (if you are using long-grain rice, let it soak for few hours or the night before) Cook the rice until it’s tender (usually that could take from 30 min to an hour and half if you haven’t socked the rice before). Brew the saffron with organic cane sugar and leave it aside crush cardamom pods and soak them in one cup of rosewater and set it aside. Once the rice is tender, add organic cane sugar to it and let it cook for half an hour. Make sure to keep stirring the rice after you add sugar so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Then add brewed saffron and let it cook for another 30 min.
Finally add slivered almonds and rosewater with cardamom pods to the pot and mix them well. Cook the pudding until most of the water is evaporated and is completely dense. Keep in mind that the pudding is extremely hot and may be jumping out of the pot. Be careful not to burn your hand.
Remove the cardamom pods and pour the pudding inside a glass dish. Garnish it with pistachios and cinnamon at the end. Allow the dish to cool down to room temperature. Then leave the dish in the fridge for few hours. The Saffron Rice Pudding is ready to serve few hours after it’s chilled.
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