Many of us have a recipe or two that calls for saffron and experienced sticker shock when we looked at the price tag.
Saffron is a spice derived from the crocus sativus flower (or the Saffron crocus). As Saffron crocus grows and flowers, its vibrantly colored stigmas (or threads) are harvested, by hand, and dried to be used mainly as a gourmet seasoning and coloring agent in food. Saffron, is a rare and delicate spice and among the world’s most costly spices by weight.
An expensive ingredient that I don’t always have on hand, however, I have managed to get by substituting a combination of two spices that are always in my kitchen… turmeric and paprika.
My take on a “saffron” rice is a quick, easy and economical recipe that’s a great dish or perfect base for a quick dinner – just add diced chicken or shrimp and some veggies and you’re set. I also sometimes serve this alongside my oven-fried haddock, my black beans or in a burrito.
“Saffron” Yellow Basmati Rice
½ onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
1 ¾ cup water or chicken stock
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a microwave safe bowl, cover and cook on high for 5 minutes. Take out microwave, stir and cover again. Return to microwave and cook at 50% power for additional 12 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
Double this recipe to have extras on hand for easy weeknight meals.