> Skip to content

Recipe  •  14 September 2021

 

Spiced saffron rice

Enjoy this aromatic Arabian rice as a side dish for a delicious dinner.

Since Roman times, Arabs were engaged as middlemen in the transport of spices and aromatics to Europe from the East. Each country on the route adopted favourites that have endured. You can serve this festive Arabian rice as a side with many dishes, and you must try the pumpkin or butternut squash variation below. It is the kind of dish I could imagine garnished with gold leaf in Renaissance Italy – something that is back in fashion today.

Serves 6–8

  • 900ml chicken or vegetable stock (use 2 stockpots or stock cubes) or water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom or 12 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads or 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 75g butter, cut into pieces, or 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper

In a pan, bring the stock to the boil with the ground cardamom or cracked pods, cloves and cinnamon sticks, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the saffron or turmeric and a little salt and pepper and pour in the rice. Let it come back to the boil, stir well, then lower the heat to a minimum and cook over low heat, with the lid on, for about 20 minutes, until little holes appear on the surface and the rice is tender.

Stir in the butter or oil. Serve the rice hot, in a mound.

Pumpkin or butternut squash pilaf
I buy butternut squash already peeled at the supermarket for this. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Cut 750g pumpkin or butternut squash into 2cm cubes. Put it in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, add 3–4 tablespoons oil and turn the pieces to coat them all over, then bake for 40–45 minutes, turning them over once, until very tender and beginning to caramelise. Cover with foil if they are becoming too brown towards the end. Stir into the rice.


Med Claudia Roden

World-renowned food writer Claudia Roden revisits Mediterranean cookery 30 years on with new simple, vibrant dishes. A treasure for fans of Ottolenghi SIMPLE (312k TCM) and Persiana (200k TCM).

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all recipes
Recipe
Spaghetti with anchovies and olives

A simple pasta dish that you can whip up in minutes from Claudia Roden's Med.

Recipe
Frankie and Olive’s roast chicken

An extra tasty roast that the whole family will love.

Recipe
Greens and herbs quiche

A dairy-free and gluten-free tart that's full of flavour.

Recipe
Sticky miso bananas with lime and toasted rice

This dessert ticks all our flavour boxes.

Recipe
Confit tandoori chickpeas

These chickpeas have had their fair share of Insta fame for a multitude of reasons.

Recipe
Vodka lemon drizzle pancakes with blackberry compote

There is, I have to confess, no need to put the vodka in the blackberry compote that accompanies these, but it does add to the sense of occasion.

Recipe
Vietnamese poached chicken salad with mint & coriander

What appeals to me about this salad is the combination of lightly poached chicken, bean sprouts, spring onions and herbs with roasted chopped nuts and sesame seeds, and the slightly gloopy fish sauce, lime juice and chilli dressing.

Recipe
Tangerine dream cake

A pleasure to make, this cake is joyous served with a cup of tea.

Recipe
Jam jar prawn cocktails

With cocktail sauce, avo, tomatoes & crispy pancetta crumbs.

Recipe
Ganesh's Leek, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto with Broccolini

If you thought that risotto was about slaving over a hot stove, drizzling stock into a pan over the course of an hour, think again. This risotto is quick, easy and satisfying. Plus you can fry whatever vegetable is in season to put on the top. Making risotto just became an easy choice.

Recipe
Roasted nectarines and beetroot with watercress and burrata

Sweet beetroot, perfumed nectarine, peppery watercress and creamy burrata — don’t take this to your next BYO barbecue or people will fight over it. Save it for home instead.

Recipe
Jenny’s famous butterflied barbecue lamb

This recipe, from my wonderful sister-in-law Jenny Corry, is world famous in my family. Stick rigidly to the instructions to end up with perfectly cooked lamb. The varying thickness of the joint means that some bits will be well done while others are delectably pink.

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes