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Saffron Rice

Saffron Herb Rice with Currants

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  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes*
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


This Mediterranean rice pilaf recipe with saffron and lots of fresh herbs, currants and nuts, tastes as good as it looks. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make!


Units Scale

2.5 T unsalted butter

2 c basmati rice, rinsed and drained well

2.5 cups boiling water

1 t saffron threads soaked in 3 T boiling water for 30 minutes

1/4 c currants soaked for a few minutes in hot water

2 oz fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, tarragon or a combination of your favorites

1/2 c slivered or crushed pistachios or almonds

Salt and Pepper

Pomegranate Seeds for Garnish


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice, making sure the grains are well coated in butter.

Add the boiling water, 1 t salt, and a pinch of white pepper. Mix well, cover with a tight lid and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat-all the water should be absorbed- and pour the saffron water over ONE side of the rice, covering about 1/4 of the surface and leaving the majority of the rice white. Cover the pan immediately with a thin dish towel and reseal tightly with the lid. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Use large spoon to remove the white rice to a large bowl and fluff it with a fork. Drain the currants and stir them in, followed by the herbs and most of the nuts, leaving a few herbs and nuts for garnish. Mix well.

Fluff the saffron rice and gently fold it into the rice mixture. Don’t overmix as you don’t want the white grains to be stained with yellow-however I did not have this problem. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve hot or at room temperature.


*Does not include 30 minute saffron soaking time

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi