Saffron Rice (Kesari Chawal)

This colorful pilaf is delicious with Indian or Middle Eastern dishes as well as with roast chicken or grilled beef.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 45 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. clarified butter
  • 3 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamom seeds, bruised
  • 2 Tbsp. golden raisins
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. saffron


  • Rinse the rice at least 3 to 4 times with water. Drain and set aside.
  • In a deep pan (with a lid), heat the butter over medium heat. Add the green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and black cardamom seeds. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the raisins, almonds, and salt. Stir for another minute. Add the rice and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and the saffron; mix well.
  • Add 2 cups of water and cook, uncovered, until the water comes to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Cook the rice for another 8 to 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Serve hot. Fluff with a fork before serving.