Saffron Infused Basmati Rice

Serves 4


  • 225g/8 basmati rice
  • Good pinch of saffron strands, pounded
  • 2 tbsps hot milk
  • 2 tbsps ghee or unsalted butter with 2 teaspoons oil
  • 4 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2.5cm/1” piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp salt

Evocative saffron, together with the powerful aroma of a few whole spices, make the naturally fragrant basmati rice enticing and irresistible. It will certainly impress your dinner party guests or your family on a special occasion.


Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear and soak it in cold water for 20 minutes.

Soak the pounded saffron in the hot milk and set aside.

In a heavy based saucepan, heat the ghee or butter and oil gently over a low heat and add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Allow them to sizzle for 25-30 seconds.

Drain the rice and add to the spiced butter. Add the salt and stir to mix well, then pour in 450ml/16 fl oz hot water and bring to the boil. Let it boil steadily for a minute or so and reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle the saffron infused milk and over the top, then cover the pan again and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Fluff up the rice with a fork, remove the whole spices and using a metal spoon transfer to a serving dish.