the appetizer:

Though vegetarian dishes featuring rice and a variety of beans dominate Indian cuisine, India's cooking has also been influenced by traders such as the Arabs and Chinese, and invaders such as the Persians, Mongols, Turks, British and Portuguese. North Indian food features more dairy and pulses, while South Indian cooking includes more rice, curries, and fruits like coconut.

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Saffron Rice (Kesar Chaval)

2 c. basmati rice
1 t saffron threads
3 T plus 4 cups boiling water
6 T ghee or butter
One 2-inch piece stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1 c. finely chopped onion
2 t salt 1/4 t ground cardamom

Place the saffron in a small bowl and cover with 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter over moderate heat in a large 3 or 4 qt. stockpot. Add the cinnamon and cloves and stir well. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes. Pour in the 4 cups of boiling water, salt, and the cardamom. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the saffron and its soaking water. Stir gently. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 25 minutes. Fluff and serve hot.


Also see Saffron Basmati Rice.


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This page modified January 2007