Orange and Toasted Almond Saffron Rice Pilaf with Golden Raisins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Yield: 4 servings
Aromatic with orange and spices, this Orange and Toasted Almond Saffron Rice Pilaf with Golden Raisins is the perfect balance of sweet and savory! The secret ingredient that takes it over the top is a little splash of orange blossom water right before serving.
  • 1 cup (180 g) long-grain basmati rice
  • ¼ cup (40 g) golden raisins (sultanas)
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 to 4-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 5 pods cardamom, cracked open
  • 1¾ cups (415 ml) vegetable stock or broth, simmering
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced horizontally, for garnish (optional)
  1. Soak the basmati rice in cool water for 15 to 20 minutes, changing the water once; rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve under cool running water and drain well.
  2. Soak the raisins in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain.
  3. Steep the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons boiling water.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the clarified butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the slivered almonds and cook until toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the onion to the butter in the saucepan that you cooked the nuts in, and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the rice is done soaking and is drained, stir it into the saucepan with the onion; turn the heat up to high and cook until the rice smells nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the salt, black pepper, cinnamon stick, cardamom, stock, and soaked raisins. Immediately put a lid on the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook 12 to 20 minutes (only open the lid if you need to add a splash more liquid).
  7. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit with the lid on for 10 to 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Once fluffed, stir in the orange zest and orange blossom water.
  8. Transfer the rice to a serving platter and sprinkle on the toasted nuts, and if using, the herbs and orange slices. Serve.
Recipe inspired by my recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts from my cookbook An Edible Mosaic: Everyday Fare with Extraordinary Flair, Tuttle Publishing, November 2012, found in this blog post.

Cooking Rice: Rice typically takes longer to cook on a humid day.
Recipe by An Edible Mosaicâ„¢ at