Saffron rice

This is one of my favourite ways to cook rice.  This recipe comes from my book Citrus & Spice (see Books). Iíve given the recipe for two servings, as it allows the greatest freedom when calculating quantities.

Although Iíve given the weight of the rice below, the easiest way to cook basmati rice is to allow ĺ cup rice for 2 people or 1 cup if you have hearty appetites.  Then simply double the quantity of water, in other words, 1Ĺ cups or 2 cups depending on your portion side.

Traditionally, basmati rice is always washed before use and checked for stones or debris. However, in Britain Tilda basmati rice is so good, this is no longer necessary.

Serves 2

A pinch of saffron threads

A pinch of salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, finely sliced

135g basmati rice

1 bay leaf, optional


1 Place the saffron threads in a mortar or small bowl with a pinch of salt and grind to a powder with a pestle or the back of a teaspoon.  If you using a pestle and mortar tip into a small bowl.   Add 300ml hot water and leave to infuse.


2  Set a saucepan over a low heat.  Add the oil and, once hot, gently fry the sliced shallot for 3 minutes or until soft and golden.  Stir in the rice and cook for a further minute or until it looks slightly translucent. Add the saffron water.  Cover and turn the heat to high.  As soon as the rice boils, reduce the heat to its lowest setting and leave to simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.  The rice is ready when it is fluffy and just past al dente. 


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