Sholeh Zard – Persian Saffron Rice Pudding
Sholeh Zard, Persian saffron rice pudding, is a golden, fragrant and delicious way to switch up your traditional rice pudding game.
Well, as I predicted in my post a of a couple of weeks back, life without a kitchen has been “interesting”. We’ve been out quite a lot at various Adelaide Festival, Fringe and WOMADelaide events so the demand for home-cooked meals hasn’t been high – thank heavens. Between the barbecue, the slow cooker and my Magimix Cook Expert I’ve managed to keep everyone adequately fed, and have even managed to come up with something new (to us, at any rate).
This golden Sholeh Zard Persian saffron rice pudding is a delicious, chilled, Middle Eastern dessert that makes the most of some of the saffron haul I bought back from our Dubai food tour. Saffron is pricey, so make sure you get the most out of it by ‘brewing’ it as per the instructions below – for this recipe or any other that calls for it.
Sholeh zard is a traditional Iranian dessert that is usually made on the stovetop. It requires a bit of stirring but, being without the requisite stove, I cooked it in the Cook Expert and saved myself the stirring. It is tooth-achingly sweet and flavoured with rosewater, which tends to make it sweeter – so feel free to cut down the sugar if desired.
I couldn’t find the rosewater in my pantry when I was making it so used orange blossom water instead, a move that will appall purists, but worked for me. This recipe makes a vast amount – probably enough for eight to ten desserts. So, unless you’re cooking for an army, be prepared to eat it for a while. It actually makes quite a nice, quick breakfast! 😉
- 1 cup long grain rice (jasmine or basmati is nice)
- 6 cups of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp brewed saffron (see note below)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 green cardamom pods, slightly cracked
- 1½ cup caster sugar (or less if preferred)
- 2 Tbsp blanched almond slivers
- ¼ cup of rosewater
- Cinnamon and/or pistachios to decorate
- Cover rice with fresh water and soak overnight.
- Drain rice and put in Cook Expert bowl, along with 6 cups of fresh water and the salt.
- Set Cook Expert 10 mins, Speed 2A, Temp 110C until boiling.
- Reduce heat to 90C, speed 3, 20 minutes.
- Add the brewed saffron, butter, cardamom pods, sugar and almonds.
- Cook another 20 minutes, speed 3, 90C.
- Stir in the rosewater, pour into serving dishes and refrigerate until cold.
- Decorate with cinnamon and nuts to serve.
- BREWED SAFFRON
- Roughly crush one generous teaspoon of saffron with a mortar and pestle (or use the back of a spoon in a bowl).
- Cover it with 6 Tbsp of boiling water and allow to infuse for 10 minutes before using.