Here’s a traditional Persian dessert that will definitely stick in your memory — Persian Saffron Rice Pudding, more commonly known in Iran as Sholeh Zard. Small grain rice is cooked to sweet glutinous perfection in water and sugar, then infused with distinctive Persian flavours with rose water and saffron water. The sticky confection is chilled in the fridge and topped with slivered pistachios, ground cinnamon and rose petals or rose buds before serving. It’s vegan-friendly and most importantly, it’s delicious! It’s a Persian recipe we’re proud to share so you can make it for your loved ones.
SERVES 6-8 PEOPLE
2 cup jasmine rice
2 cups sugar
10 cups water
2 cups extra boiling water(to be added later)
1 teaspoon ground saffron
4 cardamom pods
4 tablespoon rose water
Dried Rose Petals/Buds
Use broken/small grain rice and best to soak rice in water overnight.
Add broken short grain rice to a bowl and wash in cold water. Drain and wash a couple of times each time with fresh cold water. Drain all the water.
Add rice and boiling water to a deep non stick large pot. Use a blender to break rice grains further. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to just above the low marking. Simmer with a low boil without covering the pan.
Do not stir for 1 hour (1:15 min). Most of the water will be cooked off and the rice should be completely tender. To test the rice, very gently squeeze one grain between thumb and index finger; it should fall apart with a sticky texture.
Add 2 cups of boiling water in case the water is fully absorbed, then add 2 cups sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes then add 4 tablespoon rosewater, and 10 tablespoon saffron liquid and the cardamom seeds (no skin) (grind in a pestle and mortar). Continue cooking covered with a lid wrapped in a kitchen towel on medium low for 30 more minutes, or until Sholeh Zard thickens. Use a wooden spoon to stir several times so the Sholeh Zard does not stick to the bottom or sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.