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Zaffarani Pullao (Saffron Pilaf)


  • 2 cups long-grain rice, preferably Basmati
  • 3 to 4 fresh ripe peaches, or 1 (16 ounce) can peaches in syrup, drained
  • 6 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (3-inch long) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Soak the rice in 3 cups cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice, reserving the water, and set aside.
  3. Cut the peaches lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.
  4. Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat and sauté the peach slices until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  5. In the same ghee, sauté the almonds until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain.
  6. Repeat with the pistachios.
  7. Set the almonds and pistachios aside.
  8. Add the onion to the ghee remaining in the pan and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the cinnamon stick and fry for 1 minute.
  10. Add the rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes, until the rice begins to brown and is thoroughly coated with the ghee.
  11. Add the reserved water, milk, raisins, cardamom, saffron and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for 15 minutes.
  13. Fluff the rice with a fork, remove and discard the cinnamon stick, and transfer to a serving platter.
  14. Surround the rice with the reserved peach slices and sprinkle with the almonds and pistachios.

Serves 4 to 6.

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