Saffron is not the cheapest spice, but you need only a few threads, and it will give a beautiful yellow color to the cooked rice; so it’s worth it to give it a try.
A few years ago, I saw this dish cooked by the Australian chef, Curtis Stone, on TV on the TLC channel (Take Home Chef). My saffron was a gift from a Spanish friend.
olive oil – 2 tablespoons
carrots – 2 small
saffron threads – a pinch
basmati rice – 220 g (1 cup)
salt – 3 g (½ teaspoon)
pine nuts – 35 g (¼ cup)
raisins or cranberries – 25 g (¼ cup)
Soak the rice in water. Crush the saffron threads and soak them in hot water for 5 minutes or longer. Peel the carrots and finely dice them. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan; add the carrots and the crumbled saffron. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Drain the rice and then add to the pan. Stir for a few minutes to coat the grains in oil. Add the salt and 500 ml (2 cups) of water. Bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan tightly, and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes (or until the water has been absorbed) without stirring.
While the rice is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown in spots. The heat will release their natural rich flavor. Pay attention and stir frequently, because the nuts can burn quickly. After the rice is cooked, leave it covered for about 5 minutes, and then fluff it with a fork. Gently stir in the pine nuts and raisins or cranberries.