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Saffron Rice – Easy Basmati Rice Pilau

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What a great accompaniment for many delicious pakistani food recipes!

Rice is a major part of pakistani food recipes

This easy saffron rice is delicious on its own and/or served with a curry.

I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with Pakistani food recipes. I didn’t have many until recently when I was sent an email from Pakistan with loads of great ideas. Many I’d seen before but this one is quite unique: unlike anything I’ve seen in my collection of Indian cookbooks.

The rice is first fried and then cooked in water and coconut milk. The end result is delicious.

I like serving this rice dish with many different dishes but I have to say it goes fantastically well with fish. As I’m just finishing up my new fish cookbook, I decided to post it here first. I’d love to hear what you think of it.


Yield: 4

Indian Food Recipes - Cinnamon, Coconut And Saffron Rice

Indian Food Recipes - Cinnamon, Coconut And Saffron Rice


  • 400ml Basmati rice, soaked in three changes of water for 40 minutes
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • The rind of one lemon
  • Juice of the same lemon
  • 1 two inch cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of saffron soaked in a little warm milk
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan that has a tight lid.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick and allow the oil to take on it's flavour for about 30 seconds.
  3. Drain the rice and dump it - ever so carefully - into the oil and fry it ensuring the grains of rice are nicely coated with the cinnamon oil.
  4. Add just enough water to cover the rice and then pour in the coconut milk.
  5. Cover the saucepan with the lid and bring to a boil.
  6. When the water comes to a nice bubble, turn off the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Don't be tempted to lift the lid.
  7. After 30 minutes, very carefully lift the lid and stir the rice with a fork. Do this to roughly and the rice grains will split and your rice will be a mushy mess.
  8. Just before serving, add the saffron milk, lemon juice, lemon rind and salt to taste.

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June Hashim

Thursday 11th of April 2013

So Dan, what do you do with the teaspoonful of Nigella Seeds?

Wendy ross

Friday 2nd of February 2018

I was also wondering how much oil to use. Thanks

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