Spice Spotlight: Saffron Recipes That Will Make You Want More

Known in India as “kesar”, saffron is considered to be one of the most powerful spices out there in terms of flavor and nutrition. Although expensive, this spice imparts a distinct delicious taste to countless of dishes and offers plenty of health benefits to the body. Saffron contains essential volatile oils, antioxidants, vital vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc and more. This nutrient-dense spice has also long been used in various therapies that promote detoxification, body healing and even weight loss.

Try these easy saffron recipes for a satisfying meal:

Classic Saffron Rice

What you need:

  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter then add onions. Cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until onions have turned brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add rice, water, parsley, saffron and food coloring. Stir to combine ingredients and to coat rice. Lower the heat, cover and allow to simmer for half an hour or until water is absorbed.

Cheesy Saffron Shrimp with Caramelized Onions

What you need:

  • 20 large shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Salt to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat on a skillet then add mushroom, onions and brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until onions are browned. Remove from heat, transfer the onions and mushroom to a bowl then set aside. Cook the shrimp on the same skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the caramelized onions and mushroom, sour cream, paprika and saffron and cook until the mixture begins to simmer. Season with salt then transfer to a serving dish. Top with parmesan cheese and sprinkle with basil leaves before serving.

Fried Spiced Eggplant with Saffron Mayonnaise

What you need:

  • 4 small eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 8 sprigs parsley for garnish

Combine saffron with hot water then set aside for 8-10 minutes. When ready, mix saffron water, mayonnaise and minced garlic in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Dip each of the eggplant slices into beaten egg then in the bowl of flour mixture. Place eggplant on a baking sheet. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then fry the eggplant slices until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer eggplant slices onto a serving dish, garnish with parsley sprigs and serve with saffron mayonnaise.

Benefit from the delightful flavor of saffron and its nutritional benefits with these easy saffron recipes!

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