No Afghan dinner is complete without rice, and special occasions call for saffron rice. With its beautiful golden colour and the aroma of flowers, Saffron rice is a favourite for Nowruz, the Persian New Year that coincides with the beginning of Spring. The rice is garnished with fruits and nuts that were dried during the winter.
Prep: 10 mins Easy
Cook: 30 mins Serves 4-5
500 g basmati rice
50 ml sunflower oil
½ tsp Ariana Saffron saffron
200 ml hot water
2 tsp salt
150-200 g barberries
100 g sliced almonds
50 g pistachios
1. Wash the rice with warm water in a large bowl. Rinse, drain and repeat until the water runs clear. Then leave the rice in the bowl filled with fresh water for about 5 hours.
2. Put the saffron threads in a small bowl and leave to “bloom” in a little hot water.
3. Bring to the boil 1 liter of water and add salt. Add the drained rice to the boiling water and boil for 6-7 minutes. Drain and cool for 2 minutes.
4. Using the pan used to boil the rice, add the sunflower oil over a low-medium heat. Add the rice and saffron water and stir gently with a wooden spoon until all the rice is coated with the saffron. Shape the rice into a pyramid and use the handle of the wooden spoon to make 4 little holes. Cover the lid of the pan with a tea towel and place it on the pan. Leave on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, using a steel pan, mix the barberries, almonds and pistachios with 2 tbsp of water over a low heat. Stir for a minute, then cover and set aside until the rice is ready.
6. When the rice is ready, fluff it up with a fork to separate the grains. Serve on a large plate, topped with the barberries and nuts.
Firni is a popular dessert in Afghanistan, something you can eat at any time and everyone loves. It also goes well with lots of types of fruit and nuts, so it’s easy to add variety.
Prep: 10 mins Easy
Cook: 30 mins Serves 6
1 l milk
80 g sugar
60 g corn starch
½ tsp (SE) saffron threads or more for taste
crushed almonds and/or pistachios
1. In a large pan, heat 900 ml milk with the sugar and crushed saffron, stirring frequently.
2. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch with the remaining 100 ml of milk in a bowl.
3. Add to the saucepan once the milk is boiling, heating and stirring for at least 2 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and pour the Firni into 6 serving bowls. Cool in the fridge for 2 hours, then garnish with pomegranate seeds, crushed pistachios and/or almonds.
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