A chance meeting with a girl called Nidhi S Raj on a Facebook forum forged a bond for life.Met her recently where we exchanged a secret ingredient amongst friends and guess what – I got her beautifully wrapped package of dried rose petals. We had a week to make something with this ingredient and I knew it had to special.
Spent a few days researching and finally zeroed in on 2 dishes. Decided to go ahead with this fantastic Persian dessert ‘SHOLEH ZARD’ or saffron flavoured sticky rice pudding. Read a few recipes on this dish then went on you tube to get a better idea. Sat through a Persian video of a mom and daughter making it (didn’t have subtitles). Gave up. Then found an English one and literally dozed off watching the boring video.
The entire cook took 2 hrs but the final result was awesome. The sweetness of the dessert balances well with the nuttiness of the almond. This dessert will leave your guests pleasantly surprised. This dessert is special to me as it has been featured in various social media sites like FoodTalkIndia, Rediff.com and also got published in the ‘Being Woman Magazine
1 1/2 cup basmati rice, uncooked
8 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp crushed saffron
2 TBS hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
3 TBS almond slivers
1 heaped TBS dried rose petals Powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup rose water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBS crushed dried rose petals and pistachios
1) Soak 1 1/2 cup basmati rice for 30 mins.
2) Gently wash the rice by stirring the rice in the water with your hand. This helps wash some of the starch out. Pour out the water and repeat 5-6 more times till the water runs clear.
3) Drain washed rice and place in a non-stick vessel with 8 cups water and salt
4) Bring it to a boil, skimming the white foam from the surface as it forms.
5) Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or until rice is completely soft.
6) Stir in sugar, Cook for 20 more minutes, stirring constantly.
7) While rice is cooking, combine in a small bowl 1/4 tsp crushed saffron and 2 TBS hot water.
8) After rice has cooked for 20 mins, add saffron, melted butter, almond slivers, 1 tsp ground cardamom, 1/4 cup rose water.
9) Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture has thickened to a pudding.
10) 15 mins before shutting the gas, add rose petal powder and mix well.
11) Pour saffron pudding into a shallow serving dish or spoon into individual serving bowls.
12) Garnish with saffron thread, cinnamon powder, Crushed pistachios and dried rose petals
13) Chill in refrigerator until set, about 2 hours.
Recipe inspired by Laura Bashar
Pic courtesy Nidhi S Raj