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chicken&zardad saffron rice

Cooking With Saffron

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Saffron threads should be crushed before using them in recipes. For ground saffron, it is best to start with saffron threads and lightly toast and grind them yourself. Just be extremely careful not to burn them or they won't be usable. Often, recipes call for only a pinch of saffron, so a little goes a long way. One common procedure is too steep saffron threads in the cooking liquid before using them. The longer you steep the saffron threads, the stronger the flavor and color of the cooking liquid. Some frugal cooks steep saffron threads and use the liquid in the recipe, and then dry and reuse the threads a second time.


Unfortunately, there is no truly acceptable substitute for saffron. Its distinctive flavor is a must for classic dishes such as paella and bouillabaisse.

Try to use the real thing to get the intended result. However, turmeric or paprika might be used for the color that would be provided by saffron. Use turmeric sparingly as a saffron substitute since its acrid flavor can easily overwhelm the food.