Whenever you taste examples of Persian cuisine, chances are those dishes had used saffron in some way. Saffron’s lovely aroma, delicate taste, and the rich yellow colour it imparts to rice and certain other ingredients are all part of what makes this spice desirable. No doubt you’ve thought of buying some yourself to try and recreate those dishes you found particularly delicious, but then had second thoughts because of how expensive it could be.
The good news is, that you don’t need to use a lot of saffron for it to make a difference in whatever dish you’re cooking. So not only do you not have to buy it in large quantities but what you do buy will last a good long while. That said, how should you use it in cooking, then, and what dishes are a great place to start infusing some Persian cuisine into your kitchen repertoire?
To prepare saffron for use in cooking, you’ll need hot water, a mortar and pestle, and a small amount of either salt or sugar. When grinding the saffron, sugar or salt will make it easier to ensure the spice is finely ground. Once it is ground, put it in a small bowl – minus the sugar or salt – and then add the hot water and stir. You can use room temperature water, but the saffron flavour and aroma won’t be as noticeable. Keep stirring until the water turns a golden orange colour, then set it aside.
If you don’t want to go through this procedure each time you make something that calls for saffron, you can prepare a little more of the water-saffron mix ahead of time. Then store it in a spice bottle or a similar airtight container and place it in the fridge. Alternatively, you can grind up a good quantity of saffron, and then store the ground spice in a small jar or bottle. Again, keep it in the fridge, or in another cool, dry place.
Adding Persian Tastes to Your Kitchen and Table
Of all the dishes you can try making to start adding Persian cuisine to your kitchen, saffron rice is the easiest. It calls for plain yogurt, unsalted butter, egg yolks, and a teaspoon of saffron threads – not ground saffron! – and parboiled basmati rice. While the rice is boiling, mix the other ingredients until you get a paste-like mixture to which you’ll add the cooked rice.
Then there’s saffron rice pilaf with chicken. As you can tell, you’ll be making rice pilaf, just infused with saffron and then mixed with chopped chicken. Toss in chopped cashews and some herbs to finish. If you want more texture and flavour, you can even add a little dried fruit.
There’s also saffron fried fish, which uses fillets of cod, some saffron water, enough flour to lightly coat the fish, and salt and pepper. Add a little salt and pepper to the flour, and season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly dust each fillet with flour, then brush both sides with saffron water. Fry the fillets in batches until they’re crispy and golden brown, then set aside. You can serve the fish with rice and some bitter orange wedges.
As you can see, adding Persian flavours to your kitchen by way of saffron-infused dishes isn’t complicated. So if you want to try your hand at these dishes and are looking for saffron for sale, check out this page to get started.