3.9/5 rating (22 votes)

Zafrani Pilau

Saffron Rice

  • Heat None
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info VEGETARIAN
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Cook 20 mins
Zafrani Pilau

Hari says

If you're looking for a way to jazz up your rice side dish for that posh dinner party, then this is the dish for you. It really isn't for those of you who may be worried about calories because this is all about adding a touch of luxury to the humble rice. This rice is creamy and buttery and has a bite to it with a warming fragrance and the sophistication of saffron. Yes, it's a bit posh, but it's oh-so-good.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 50ml cream
  • 260g Basmati rice
  • Pinch of saffron 


  1. Wash the rice in two or three changes of water until the starch water runs clear. Then leave it to soak in warm water for 30 mins. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Boil 300ml water in the kettle and keep to one side.
  3. In a wide based pan, add the oil and leave to heat up before adding the cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds until you can smell the cumin aroma and pour in the boiling water, salt, butter and cream.
  4. Bring the water back to the boil, drain the rice and add it to the pan. Bring back to the boil. Leave to cook until the water has just been absorbed (about 6 minutes).
  5. Remove from the heat and wet a clean tea towel. Cover the rice first with the wet tea towel and then with the lid of the pan.
  6. Place the pan in the oven for 8 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, crush the saffron strand in a pestle and mortar and add to a little warm water. Leave to steep.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the lid and the tea towel (be careful - it will be hot). Check the rice is cooked and then leave the rice to stand for a few minutes. If it's not cooked, leave in the oven for another couple of minutes.
  9. Pour in streaks of the saffron water and very gently fork through the rice before serving.

This goes well with

You may also like to try

Share this

“ Thank you for printing this recipe for my delicious Zafrani Pilau ”


Comments (2)

  • Lakshmi


    12 January 2017 at 00:23 |
    Could you please share which vegetable dishes would go well with Zafrani Pilau? Thanks.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      12 January 2017 at 15:32 |
      Hi Lakshmi oh there are so many paneer makhani, any dhal is great, sholay, hot coconut vegetables - let me know which one you try! Thanks


Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

By providing your email address you are allowing Hari Ghotra LTD to send you email communications in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

“ Don’t forget you can stay up-to-date with all my latest recipes by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest or by subscribing to my YouTube channel ”
Hari Ghotra