Rice Cooker Saffron Rice

Saffron rice from a rice cooker

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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
109 Calories
1g Fat
19g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 617mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 151mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Saffron is a beautiful aromatic spice said to be the world's most expensive spice by weight. The flowers of the plant it comes from bloom in the fall only and need to be hand-picked at a specific time of day. Each flower yields three small threads (the stigmas); these are then dried and finally sold for culinary use. What few people know is that to produce one pound of saffron you need to hand-pick over 150,000 saffron crocus, and that's why you have to pay a lot when buying saffron. But the expense is worth it and a little goes a long way.

Used for coloring and flavoring meals, there is no agreement on where this spice came from originally, but in general, it's safe to say the Middle East. Cuisines from or near that part of the world have used saffron for centuries, and popular dishes like Spanish paella or Italian risotto alla Milanese use saffron to give a golden color to the food and to impart it with that distinct floral and subtle flavor.

In our easy Saffron rice, the amount of saffron that we use infuses the rice with a wonderful taste and perfume, making this dish a perfect accompaniment to roast chicken, pork, or seafood.

While simmering the rice in your rice cooker, get on with preparing other parts of your meal and come back 20 minutes later to a fluffy yellow rice that's nothing like you've ever had before. For this recipe be sure to use only Thai jasmine rice, because with brown rice, short-grain, or sweet rice you won't have the same results.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (ground)

  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 cups white jasmine rice

  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the stock into a medium-size pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

  3. Add the saffron threads, turmeric, cumin, garlic, chili, and fish sauce (or salt) to the hot stock. Stir well.

  4. Pour this mixture into your rice cooker together with the rice. Stir and cover.

  5. Switch on the cooker. When the rice is done, fluff with a fork or chopsticks. The dried chili may have risen to the top, so just mix it in.

  6. Serve the rice as an accompaniment to your main dish.

  7. Enjoy!

Which Stock is Best for Cooking?

Homemade stock is always best for cooking, as it has better flavor and lower amounts of sodium than store-bought stock. But making stock just for the purpose of a recipe is usually not time-friendly, and unless you have frozen stock, it's likely you'll need to buy the stock you use for cooking.

What you want in any stock is preferably organic and non-GMO ingredients; this in itself guarantees that what you're consuming comes from a reputable source and there are no unnecessary additives or food preservatives. Then, check that it is a low-sodium preparation; by doing so you're also in control of the final flavor. Heavily salty stocks can ruin your dish, but by managing the additional salt in the recipe, the resulting dish will be seasoned to your taste. For our rice, you can add more fish sauce or salt if needed, or an additional squeeze or two of lemon juice to balance the saltiness.

Vegan Substitutions

This dish is easily adapted for vegan needs:

  • Use vegetable or faux chicken stock instead of the chicken stock.
  • Use salt instead of fish sauce, from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.