Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Saffron Rice With Hemp Seeds, Sesame Seeds And Slivered Almonds

Seeds and nuts boost saffron rice's flavor and nutrition.

Check out my ebook, Health Begins in the Kitchen.

Saffron Rice
My grandson loves saffron rice. Recently, during his visit, he suggested our entire dinner be a huge platter of saffron rice and nothing else! Well it wasn't the entire meal, but I did make it for him a few times. I found that I too love rice that has been infused with this lovely and rare spice. And rice is the perfect grain for those who are searching for gluten-free foods.

Making it a Healthier Dish
OK, I admit it. I prefer the dish with white, jasmine or basmati rice. It's lighter and fluffier. But it has more fiber and nutrients when made with whole grain, brown rice. It also has a nice, chewy texture. 

And there are a few other things you can do to step up the health benefits of this classic dish.
* Add some turmeric (a spice with amazing anti-inflammatory properties). 
* Add lots of onions ( I use a whole cup in this recipe). A member of the Allium family, they are packed with health-promoting sulfur-containing compounds.
* Avoid butter when sautéing  the onions. Earth balance is a good substitute for butter but extra virgin olive oil is an even better selection. 
* For additional vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, stir in some hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and slivered almonds

Easy Broth with Lots of Flavor
I couldn't live without Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt and Herbs. Whenever I need a flavorful broth, I pop one of these in some water. One large cube (2 servings) contains 2,020 mg of sodium so if you use this, there is generally no need to add additional salt as it contains the equivalent of 7/8 of a teaspoon of salt. Use only half of a cube if you are restricting your intake of sodium.

One of the ingredients is yeast extract so I did a bit of research on whether or not they were gluten free. According to the moderator of celiac.com, yeast and yeast extract are gluten free. The manufacturer, according to veganessentials.com, states, "There is no added gluten to our Bouillons however they are processed on the same lines and in the same facility as products containing gluten. We are unable to guarantee that this product is gluten free."
So if you have celiac, you are better off using a "certified gluten-free bouillon or broth". 

Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon

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Saffron Rice 
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 4 servings]

2 cups water*
1 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube*
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or Earth Balance
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup white Jasmine or brown rice
1 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon slivered almonds

* Water and bouillon can be replaced with 2 cups vegetable broth and salt to taste.

Place the water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and mix in the bouillon cube to make broth. Set aside.

Crush the saffron threads and add to the hot broth along with the turmeric.

Add crushed saffron and turmeric to hot broth.

Heat the oil or Earth Balance in a large Dutch oven or pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the onions and cook on medium low heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice and saffron-infused broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook until all the liquids have been absorbed (15 to 20 minutes for white rice and 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice). Do not open the lid during the cooking process until it is time to check for doneness. 

(If you have a rice cooker, you can just place cooked onions, rice, and saffron-infused broth into your rice cooker  and prepare according to manufacturers directions.)

Add rice and saffron-infused broth to pot, cover and cook.

Stir hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and almonds into the rice and serve. For plain saffron rice, these may be omitted.

Per serving (using white rice and olive oil): 263 calories, 8 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 299 mg omega-3 and 1,794 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber and 510 mg sodium.

Per serving (using brown rice and olive oil): 265 calories, 9 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 305 mg omega-3 and 2,189 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber and 511 mg sodium.

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