Hed Chef: Get festive with saffron butter rice
Much as one loves cooking and eating festive food, let us not forget that this time of the year is also about spending time with family and friends.
My strategy for hosting parties is to cook dishes that deliver maximum flavour without requiring excessive work.
This way, you will not be too exhausted from cooking. You do need energy to be a good host and interact with your guests.
This week's recipe of saffron butter rice is fairly straightforward.
Frying is involved but that bit of effort is worth it when you taste the results. This is no plain-tasting butter rice.
The shallots and spices add plenty of flavour, the raisins and nuts add texture, while the Chinese celery adds colour and crunch.
You do not have to use basmati rice. I did as I had some on hand from my recent craze over briyani.
If you opt for jasmine rice, I suggest using three rice cups of rice to about 510ml of water.
This is slightly less liquid than the usual ratio of one rice cup of rice to one rice cup of water for cooking plain white rice.
I find the butter and shallots add moisture to the rice.
If you find it too dry or hard for your liking, simply add a little water to the rice and cook it a little longer to your preferred texture.
Watch this space for a tandoori-style capon recipe next week.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 8)
- 3 cups basmati rice (416g)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 40g butter
- 5 shallots (50g), sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves (50g), with skins on, lightly bruised
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 16g saffron powder
- 780ml water (at least)
- 1½ tsp salt
- 80g raisins
- 100g baked cashew nuts
- 50g pine nuts
- 10g Chinese celery
1. Rinse the basmati rice. Place it in a bowl and fill with enough water to cover it. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.
2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat.
3. Add the shallots and fry until softened.
4. Add the chopped garlic and garlic cloves, fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the basmati rice and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add the garam masala, cumin seeds and saffron powder, fry for 1 minute.
7. Turn off the heat and transfer the rice mixture into rice cooker.
8. Add the 780ml water and salt. Stir well then add the raisins.
9. Cook until the rice is cooked through.
10. Transfer into serving dish and garnish with the nuts and Chinese celery.