Zafrani Pulao or Saffron Rice has always been a special occasion dish and this time its Jamai Shashthi or the day of the Son-in-law, celebrated by the Bongs. As I do not live in Kolkata and rarely visit my city at this time of the year, my Maa never gets a chance to shower her affection through those lovingly cooked delicacies on this very day which we enjoy on our other visits to Kolkata. So I generally prepare something special to observe this day in our own way.
Indian cuisines have a marked influence of the rulers and invaders at different times in history and Zafrani pulao is one such dish, most probably brought to India by the Persians who predominantly use saffron in their cooking wheras the presence of nuts in the dish defines the Mughal accent. This striking yellow coloured fragrant Basmati rice embellished with dried fruits and assorted nuts is bound to illuminate your lunch/dinner spread on any ceremony and needless to say is that the taste parallels its beauty. To sum it up….Zafrani Pulao is an exquisite dish with an exotic flavour. Sharing with you the recipe….
- 2 cups long grained aromatic Basmati rice
- ½ cup full cream milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 12-14 strands of saffron
- 20 cashew nuts halved
- 15 almonds
- 25-30 raisins/sultanas
- 4-5 green cardamoms
- 3-4 small bits of nutmeg
- A big pinch of salt
- 31/2 cups of warm water
- 3-4 tblspns of ghee/clarified butter
Wash rice, drain and keep aside. Boil milk with the saffron strands. Now, heat ghee in a wok and put in the cardamoms and nutmeg pieces with the nuts. Fry for a while, now add the basmati rice. Keep stirring for a few minutes. Now add the milk with the saffron, raisins, sugar, salt and warm water. Give a stir, cover and cook on low flame until the water dries up and the rice is done. Give some standing time, pour on the serving plate and garnish with raisins, nuts and strands of saffron.