Persian Plain Steamed Rice with saffron

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Plain Steamed Rice


Traditional Persian rice dish unique to Iranian cuisine called Chelo.

Fluffy melt in your mouth gourmet rice topped with saffron butter sauce. Using long grain Basmati rice, the kernels are first boiled lightly then steamed in a pot with an absorptant cloth wrapped around the lid. This method results in an exceptionally fluffy rice with the rice grains separated and not sticky.

At serving time, the rice is served on a platter, formed in a mound shape. A small portion of rice is dipped in a saffron butter sauce, then sprinkled on the mound. Use non-stick cooking pot for best results.

Chelo means 'plain steamed rice' in the Persian language or Farsi (Arabic pronunciation of Parsi).


  1. Basmati rice - 3 cups
  2. Salt - 1 teaspoon
  3. Ground saffron - 1/4 teaspoon
  4. Cooking oil - 3 teaspoons
  5. Butter - 1 tablespoon
  6. Water


Wash and Boil Rice:

  1. Rinse rice in warm water several times until water runs clear. This removes excess starch.
  2. Fill large pot with water (two to three times the amount of rice), add salt, add 1 teaspoon of oil, add rice, and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent kernels from sticking together. Cook until rice is no longer crunchy but still firm.
  4. Drain rice in a colander, then rinse with cold water. Let excess water drain off.

Steam Rice:

  1. Place 2 teaspoons of oil in a large pot, if you like, melt some butter for extra flavoring, then sprinkle rice into pot using a large spoon. Form a mound shape by avoiding the sides of the pot.
  2. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to perforate the mound all the way to the bottom of the pot, in several places.
  3. Before covering the pot, wrap a clean dry towel around the lid which will absorb excess moisture to prevent the rice from becoming soggy.
  4. Cook rice on very low heat for 45 minutes before serving.
  5. To ensure a golden crust will form at the bottom of the pot, cook rice on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, then reduce heat and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
  6. By the end, the towel should be rather soggy and the rice should be fluffy, dry and tender.

Saffron and Butter:

  1. Make a watery solution by dissolving saffron with a bit of warm water, then blend with remaining butter.
  2. Mix saffron thoroughly with a cup of rice until all the kernels turn a bright yellow.
  3. Place plain rice in a platter and sprinkle saffron flavoured rice over top.


  1. You can serve rice with just about anything. Try stews and casserole section for some yummy recipes.
  2. Learn about the properties and medicinal use of Saffron spice.

Learn about Saffron spice

Spice made from the stigmas of saffron flower may well be the most amazing seasoning on the market.

Saffron adds rich flavour and exotic colour to your foods. High grade saffron stigmas contain potent amounts of nutrients necessary for good vision, healthy skin and a robust sexual appetite.

Click Here to learn more about Saffron plant and spice.

Taken from the comments section at Amazon

"Good Quality Saffron. Adds good color and flavor to the recepies. It came in excellent looking tins, that adds value if you want to gift it "

Spanish Saffron La Mancha Tin (2 gram)

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