Yesterday I was in no mood to eat the spicy mushroom gravy and the mixed veggie curry which I had prepared and I wanted something different-something that I have not tasted so far. I wanted to cook something nice, browsed a few blogs that are regularly visited and came to Sig's-Live to Eat blog. As I browsed the recipes I liked the very look of her Saffron rice and immediately set my mind to prepare it rite away. I had all the ingredients and I was mighty glad I got the small box of saffron with me from India.
The method is pretty simple and its made in a microwave and is perfect for summer when you hate to stand in front of the stove and boil along with the food :) No grinding or chopping. Once the rice got cooking, the house was filled with a wonderful aroma and I dug into it as soon as I clicked a shot. Lilangel did enjoy this rice and she said - 'amma, nich'!
The saffron which I used for this recipe is almost one and a half years old. My FIL got me this small box of saffron for me when I was carrying lilangel. MIL used to say that if I took a couple of strands of saffron in milk every night, the baby will be fair! It a myth I know, but i did not want to hurt her sentiments. I actually liked the idea, not to get a 'fair' child but remembered the times long ago, when I was a kid, my aunt who religiously used to take this saffron milk with almond paste every night. She used to share this with me and I liked the taste. I hate plain milk, no matter what but can tolerate it when flavored and this was the best flavor.
Moreover saffron is an antispasmodic and would help if I got renal colic and it is known to improve digestion and increase the appetite and for in those days I had almost 'nil' appetite! And also I knew that saffron must be used with extreme care during pregnancy, because it induced heat and may act as an uterine stimulant when used in high doses. With all these in mind, the same day I got that box of saffron, i did exactly what my MIL asked me to do - soak a few strands in milk, put it in a glass and top it with warm milk. [I was lazy to prepare almond paste and MIL never mentioned it - good for me...] The first sip was not as good as I remembered it to be. At the second sip I threw up! I never imagined this to happen but pregnancy sure does change your preferences.
So I stopped taking saffron milk and the box of saffron slept happily in the fridge. When I moved to China with my lil angel, I took it along with me and here to it was in deep slumber in the fridge. Sia's saffron rice reminded me of that and as I took it out, I remembered my FIL lovingly place it on my hands and a lump formed in my throat. Yes, he is no more but his memories are evergreen in my mind.
Now back to the rice.. I made some changes in the recipe. The original recipe is here...
For my version you need:
1. Basmathi rice - 1/2 cup
2. Water - 1 cup
3. Saffron - scant 1/4 teaspoon
4. Milk - 1 tablespoon[warm but not hot]
5. Pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
6. Turmeric powder - a pinch
7. Butter - 1 teaspoon
8. Cumin - 1 teaspoon
9. Salt to taste
1. Soak the saffron in milk
2. Wash the rice and soak in water for half an hour
3. In a microwave proof dish take the butter and microwave in high for 30 seconds
4. Take it out immediately and add the cumin, pepper powder, turmeric powder
5. Microwave on high for 1 minute
6. Remove the vessel from the microwave and put in the rice [drain the water], 1 cup water, milk+saffron and cook for 5 minutes on high
7. After 5 minutes remove from microwave, mix well, cover and cook for 3 minutes
8. Let it stand in the microwave for 5 minutes
9. Enjoy with a spicy side dish!!
The cooking time in a microwave depends on many factors.. Read my post Microwave Basics to know more about it...
Note - If you want to use Saffron during pregnancy, I think you should check with your doctor before putting it to use.