saffron, golden raisin + almond rice

by Amy on 22 February 2011

i was looking for a new, interesting side dish to accompany chicken last week + decided that something with saffron would be perfect. after a few minutes of searching, i found this irresistible recipe + after making it, was incredibly happy with the results.  this rice is AMAZING!

while the original recipe called for currants, i opted for golden raisins + they worked perfectly. in the future, i may try a combination of both raisins + currants. the almonds add a lovely flavor + crunch to the dish while the slowly-sauteed onions add a wonderful savory note + the raisins add a pop of sweetness. i also added a pinch of cinnamon to deepen the flavor even a bit more, which was a delicious addition.

i will absolutely be making this rice again, next time to accompany a new moroccan chicken recipe i found. if you’re looking for a delicious new side with the perfect balance of savory + sweet notes, this is for you!

saffron, golden raisin + almond rice

makes 8 servings, adapted from gourmet


3/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoons boiling-hot water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup slivered almonds (4 ounces)
1 very large onion, chopped (3 to 4 cups)
3 cups white basmati rice (19 ounces)
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried currants (4 ounces) – * i substituted golden raisins, which worked perfectly.


soften saffron in hot water (2 tablespoons) in a small bowl.

heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. fry almonds, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes (* i fried them a bit longer to get a deeper golden color). transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

fry onion in oil remaining in pot, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes. transfer half of onion to a bowl.

add rice to onion in pot + cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. add water (4 1/2 cups), saffron mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, + 1/2 teaspoon pepper + bring to a simmer. reduce heat to low + cook, covered, until water is absorbed + rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. let rice stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes.

while rice stands, stir almonds and currants into bowl with onion. fluff rice with a fork + serve with almond mixture spooned on top.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sarah February 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

this looks awesome! can’t wait to try it!

2 amy February 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

let me know how it turns out for you – i think you’re going to love it!

3 ellen February 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Yummy! Ill definitely be making this. Can’t wait to hear about the morroccan chicken, too!

4 amy February 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

hope it turns out great for you! =)

5 Vivek Surti February 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

This rice looks great! We make a similar rice with saffron, cashews, and cilantro.

6 amy February 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

ooh, i’d love to try a version like that. i also make a rice with lemon, shallots, + pistachios that is amazing. gotta love a good homemade rice dish!

7 Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) February 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I have everything on hand except currants/raisins to make this yummy rice! I need something to serve as a side with some chicken tenders I want to pan saute, and this will be perfect. All I have to do is marinate them with a mixture of yogurt and curry powder and thread on skewers. Saturday dinner dilemma SOLVED!!

8 amy February 23, 2011 at 10:30 pm

i think you’re going to love it, especially with the yogurt/curry chicken skewers you mentioned (which sound delicious, by the way). i can’t wait to hear how it turns out! + i’d love to see some pictures of your meal. =)

9 foodies at home March 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

This looks so wonderful! I love golden raisins and I think paired with some yummy chicken would be perfect!

10 amy March 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

absolutely! i will definitely post the moroccan chicken recipe that i think it would be great with, as soon as i get around to making it!

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