Saffron Rice
© 1994, Excerpted with permission from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing
by Usha and Dr. Vasant Lad

Cooking with Saffron

Saffron is sweet, astringent, and bitter to taste, heating with a sweet vipaka (post-digestive effect). It is balancing for all three doshas, easy to digest and helps food allergies.

Saffron 'threads'


Medicinal Uses: Very effective for migraine-type headache. It can be effective in revitalizing the blood, circulation and the female reproductive system.

Doshic Notes
Vata = Pitta = Kapha =

Grains of Rice


Soak the saffron in the 1 tablespoon water for at least 10 minutes.

Wash and rinse the rice twice. Drain.

Heat a pot over medium heat and add the ghee. Then add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and cardamom and mix well for a minute. Turn the heat to low, add the rice and sauté in the spices for 2 minutes.

Pour in the hot water and the soaked saffron and bring to a gentle boil. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Then turn down the heat to medium and partially cover.

Continue to boil gently for another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to keep from sticking.

Turn the heat to low, fully cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.


Ingredients, Serves 6

generous pinch saffron
1 Tbs


1 1/2 cups
basmati rice
3 Tbs
ghee or unsalted butter
bay leaves
bits of cinnamon bark
(about 1 heaping teaspoon)
cloves, whole
1/2 tsp
cardamom pods, whole
4 cups
hot water


Sometimes at the end of a long day, comfort food can be soothing and relaxing. The simplicity of steamed vegetables and saffron rice can take the stress off and set you up for an evening of respite.


© The Ayurvedic Institute 2011.  Fair use policyPrivacy policy. Contact us.