Saffron basmati rice

I wanted to make a more interesting and substantial rice side dish to serve with a curry. Something that also looked a little more appealing than the typical bland ‘white’ steamed rice. Enter this Saffron Basmati Rice. 

I’m a huge rice fan – if I was to give up carbs this would be where I would have the most issues. I’m more of rice person than bread so this dish is bound to become a staple in my menu planning. You can also see this dish featured in my Chicken Korma recipe.

Saffront rice with basmati

This dish has a fairly mild flavour so it won’t overpower whatever dish you are serving it with. Although how much saffron you use will influence the strength of the flavour. The almonds and onion used in the recipe do give a far more interesting texture however than typical basmati rice. 

On the subject of rinsing or washing rice. I was always taught by my mother that you should rinse rice. I now tend to soak it in water for a minute or two and then drain and then repeat a couple more times, to make sure that all the starchy stuff is removed. It will make the rice less sticky and make the texture cleaner and the grains more crisp. 


Saffron Basmati Rice

Recipe by carolineCourse: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





A delicately flavoured yet fragrant Saffron Basmati Rice – ideal to serve with your favorite curry. Mixed with onion and sliced almonds, this rice dish gives a more substantial and fancy alternative to plain boiled rice.


  • 120g pure basmati rice

  • 10g sliced almonds

  • 50g diced onion

  • very small pinch of saffron

  • Fry light cooking spray (or a couple of tsps of olive oil if you prefer)


  • Add the saffron to a couple of tablespoons of water and set aside to allow the flavours to release
  • Lightly toast the almonds in a saucepan over a medium heat – it should only take a minute or two – you don’t want them to start to go black. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat about 10 sprays of fry light to the pan. Add the onion and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. You want them to be nicely brown but not burnt!
  • Rinse the rice with cold water.
  • Once the onions are browned, add the rice to the saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the saffron strands and the water to the pan and then add double the volume of rice in water to the pan (this is a great, rule of thumb way to measure the amount of water when you are cooking rice – if you are going to steam it, as we are.
  • Bring the pan to the boil and reduce the heat right down. Cover the pan and leave to cook for around 15 minutes. It’s done once the water is evaporated but the rice is moist enough that it’s not started to catch in the pan.
  • Crumble the toasted almonds into the pan and stir well into the rice
  • That’s it – enjoy with your favorite curry

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