I planned to make much more Iranian food while in Nice than I actually did. Now that my time here is coming to a close (T-2.5 weeks until departure), I'm trying to finish off all the things that are left in my kitchen. One of these things, in bizarre abundance, is saffron. In an attempt to not to ensure that none of it goes unused, I've been finding little uses for it here and there. This morning, for example, I added it (with a splash of rose water) into my rice pudding, creating a concoction that resembled Sholeh Zard, an Iranian rice pudding dessert.
For lunch, I was looking for a light dish that would use both the saffron and some leftover brown basmati rice I had in the pantry. After some browsing, I found this recipe on The Kitchn. It was super easy to make and really delicious. I didn't have any cashews on hand so I omitted that part and also sauteed some onions at the beginning to add extra flavor. I would definitely make it again as a side dish to a larger meal, like they suggest doing with a lamb curry.
Saffron Rice with Peas
from The Kitchn
makes 4-6 servings
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups Basmati rice, well-rinsed and washed
1/2 teaspoon (2 pinches) saffron threads
1 cup unroasted, lightly salted cashew halves
1 cup frozen organic peas
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Wash and drain rice. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 4-quart pot. Add the rice and fry a couple minutes. Add the saffron threads and cashew halves and fry for another minute. Add the peas, fry for a few moments, then add the water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes.
Take off the lid and turn the heat off. Stir in the garam masala and salt to taste. Let the rice sit to "dry" for a few minutes. Serve.