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Saffron rice with sweet & spice


  • brown rice 250g

  • coconut oil 1 tablespoon

  • cumin seeds 1 teaspoon

  • onion, sliced lengthways 1

  • cardamom pods 5

  • cinnamon stick, broken 1

  • star anise 5

  • ginger, garlic, chilli 1 tablespoon

  • salt 1 teaspoon

  • curry leaves 5-10

  • pinch saffron

  • cranberries 50g

  • walnuts 10

  • sprinkle of coriander


Soak the rice for at least one hour or overnight. Let the saffron soak in a little water (2 tablespoons) for around 5 minutes or longer. Once the rice has been soaked, drain the water, rinse the rice and then place in a large pan with boiling water. Fill the water a few centimetres above the rice and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. The rice should still be a little uncooked. Drain the water again and rinse the rice in cold water and leave aside. In a separate pan or wok, melt the coconut oil and add the cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds are brown, add the onion, curry leaves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Let this cook on low heat and keep stirring for around 5 minutes until onions are brown. Now stir in the ginger, garlic and chilli paste, then add the saffron along with the water it was soaking inside, add the cranberries and let this cook for another 2 minutes. You can now add the rice and salt, and stir the mixture together. Add 350-400ml water to the mixture and leave the rice to cook on low heat with the lid on the pan for around 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. While the rice is cooking, toast the walnuts in a separate pan on low heat with half a teaspoon of coconut oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Once the rice is cooked, break the walnuts and stir into the rice, garnish with coriander and serve.

When rice is on the table, I might have a spoonful, but it’s not something I usually eat and therefore can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually cooked it. But ever since I’ve had a pack of brown rice from Amira Foods, I’ve been meaning to make this delicious, flavourful rice, a rich mix of sweet and spice, with aromas of star anise, cinnamon and whole cardamom pods, coloured and flavoured with saffron, the light sweetness of cranberries and small pieces of toasted crunchy walnuts. So I finally made it this weekend. I used coconut oil, added a spoon of ginger, garlic and chilli paste, and a fresh garnishing of coriander leaves before serving (or taking the pictures!) It might take a little time to make this dish, but it’s a meal in itself, with deliciously rich and exciting flavours. The cinnamon sticks, star anise and cardamom pods add to the depth of flavour and aroma as well as the array and warmth of colours, but they’re not absolutely necessary. It’s a truly impressive dish for a dinner party.

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