Zafrani Pulao

The influence of Brobdingnagian cultures can be seen in Indian Cuisine. Each part of India signifies the amalgamation of the various footholds of 'foreigners' who ever stepped into Indian soil and wanted to make it their home. Awadhi Cuisine is such. It has an essence of Persian, middle eastern - in short a Mughalai touch to it. Born in Lucknow, it boasts of Nawabi touch, of kebabs and pulao's, of korma's and kulchas and also of the bounty of rich spices that goes into making these utterly delicious foods - trumpeting both in sensory as well as luscious variety.

Among such variety is this one called Zafrani Pulao - Basmati rice cooked in a sweet and rich blend of spices and nuts.The preparation calls for minimal ingredients yet the ones chosen to play ornamental are among the pinnacles of Indian cuisine. Saffron - King of Spices, Almonds - King of nuts, Basmati - King of Rice teamed and cooked with ghee play the key role and with such prominent figures, how can a dish go wrong??

  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 2 people
  • 1-1/2 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts ( Almonds + Cashew - sliced/chopped)
  • generous pinch of saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm milk
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of sugar ( you can use upto 1/2 cup. I like it minimal)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • some mint leaves for garnish
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of ghee and saute rice until fragrant.
2. Along with saffron milk add 2 cups of water and salt, stir and cook
3. until the rice is cooked. You can add the cardamom and nutmeg towards the end of cooking rice. Or add it along with the onions when it caramelizes.
4. Meanwhile in another pan, add 1 tbsp of ghee and add the sliced onions. Cook for 1-2 min until soft.
5. Add the sugar, let it caramelize for some time, till the onions turn dark reddish brown. Make sure not to burn the Onions though. Remove with slotted spoon and set it aside.
6. In the same pan, toast the nuts till golden.
7. Mix these with the rice - serve warm garnished with mint.

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1 Member Reviews

By swetha on Aug 8, 2010

Came out yummm!! Did not have saffron so used turmeric for the color . Im sure saffron gives a super taste will try it with saffron the next time ...!!

Husband loved this .We usually do not like extremely spicy pulao's but this turned out to be extremely tasty although mild in spices and filling and did not feel one bit heavy :)

Thanks DK.



By Gaurav on Oct 16, 2013

Would like to add that in case user doesn't find saffron at home, hen can replace it with turmeric (albeit in small dosage here I used less than a tsp) along with milk. The texture changed to be pale yet pleasant yellow. Had I added more turmeric I'm sure the taste of turmeric would have been overpowering.

By Gaurav on Oct 16, 2013

Hey , I tried making this recipe on my own. The name caught my attention from the famous movie "Chini Kum" . I must tell you that it came out so well that I am making this again and before just finding time to write this comment. Would really like to thank you for sharing such pleasures with everyone,

By Divya on Aug 26, 2009

When do we add the nutmeg and cardamom powder?
Sorry for the slip in the post Divya. Thanks for pointing it out. Just add them towards the end of either cooking the rice or you can add to the caramelized onions towards the end before mixing with the rice. Either way works.

By Curry Leaf on Dec 29, 2008

This is perfect.The step by step pic makes it easy for me.Bookmarked and perfect entry.

By Namratha on Dec 29, 2008

Mmmm that platter looks so inviting, can't stop drooling....yummmmy D!

By delhibelle on Dec 29, 2008

Great pictorial, and I too love the paneer tikka sitting pretty on the pulao

By Gita's Kitchen on Dec 29, 2008

This is my favorite pulav. The picture looks so tempting, nice click :)

By Gita's Kitchen on Dec 29, 2008

This is my favorite pulav. The picture looks so tempting, nice click :)

By Madhu on Dec 29, 2008

Wow..its mouth watering..Can't wait to try..Love the first picture with the kebabs..Great job..

By Sunshinemom on Dec 28, 2008

Looks delicious! I love the paneer kebabs you have placed on top - gives it the royal touch!

By Pavani on Dec 28, 2008

Yumm.. thats a great pictorial for Zafrani pulao. Reminds me of the movie "Cheeni Kum"-- Amitabh and Tabu are introduced to each other by Zafrani pulao.. Delicious dish.. Thanks for the recipe.