Sweet Saffron Rice (Kesari Bhath) has always been a favorite in my house. Itís easy to make and simply delicious. This is my grandmotherís own recipe, she always made it when we came to visit & we could never seem to get enough.
Kesari bhath is basically sweetened rice thatís just a little softer than regular cooked rice but not quite as soft as a rice pudding. Itís versatile in the sense that it can be eaten at virtually anytime - for breakfast, lunch, brunch, snack, light meal or even as a dessert.
KESARI BHATH (Sweet Saffron Rice)
1 cup Basmati rice (or any long grain rice variety), rinsed well
Ĺ cup sugar (to taste)
2 tbsp ghee or butter
a good pinch of saffron (around ľ tsp), soaked in 2 tbsp of lukewarm milk
2 tbsp toasted unsalted cashews (or toasted unsalted pistachios/almonds or a mix), chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins
Ĺ tsp cardamom powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
mix of toasted nuts & raisins for garnish
Cook the rice as you normally would in either a pressure cooker or on the stovetop. You will need 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. One the rice has finished cooking and has slightly cooled, spread the rice out on a baking tray. Using a fork or your fingers, carefully separate the rice grains. Keep aside until needed.
In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the ghee (or butter). When hot, add the cashews & raisins. Stir & let them cook for a few minutes until the raisins have plumped nicely. Remove the saucepan from the heat & set aside until needed. Donít forget to reserve some nuts & raisins for the garnish.
In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add the sugar with just enough water to make a thin simple syrup. So basically, the amount of water should equal the amount of sugar (Ĺ cup sugar, add Ĺ cup water). Stir until the sugar dissolves, this will take maybe around 5-6 minutes or so. The syrup will have both a watery consistency & sticky feel to it. Now add the saffron along with its soaking liquid, toasted nuts and raisins. Stir together until everything is well combined. Now carefully stir in the cooked rice. Mix well and add the cardamom powder & freshly grated nutmeg. Stir well, cover and cook on low for 5-6 minutes until all the flavors have combined and the rice has absorbed the sweet syrup and spices. Garnish with some toasted nuts & golden raisins, serve warm.
Add a small drop or two of rosewater or orange blossom honey water just before serving. You could also add some dried cherries or chopped dried apricot to the dish as well. Just add in along with the raisins. To add a tart tangy flavor to the dish, add the juice of Ĺ lime to the rice after you add the sugar syrup.