Aash-mal-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice


I have been wanting to post more Emirati recipes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I had initially planned at doing one recipe per month, but things are not going as per plan. I try to keep a healthy mix of all kinds of recipes on the blog, and Alhamdulillah, I feel I am doing a fair enough job. 🙂 I am actually happy with it, since I don’t want to feel any pressure regarding concentrating on one cuisine, especially when you have to be extra careful as to how your folks would react to different flavors. 🙂  But, yes, this year, I have been trying to keep a tap on cooking more local recipes and I am sure I will be able to keep recording them at a good enough pace rather than keep them waiting. 😉


Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe but with flavors of its own! Aash Mal Zaafran, literally translates to read as “saffron rice”. This is steamed rice which is fortified with some spices and of course the main ingredient, saffron. The other specialty is that the rice is cooked in stock water, which gives it an amazing flavor and there is absolutely no oil used. This rice goes really well with the Saloona and even the vegetarian thareed if you are not in a mood for non-veg. I have adapted the recipe from here. Moving to this flavorful recipe…



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Aash-ma-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Rice
Cuisine: Emirati
Serves: 4
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2 stock cubes (I used vegetable)
  • 3 cardamom pods, split
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 big cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • A fat pinch saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • 3 tbsp water
  1. Soak the saffron in a mixture of rosewater and water.
  2. In a large sauce, add the water, stock cubes and the whole spices and bring it to a rolling boil.
  3. Add the drained rice and keep on high flame till it boils again.
  4. Lower the heat to the minimum, and cook on low flame till the rice has absorbed water and is almost cooked.
  5. Sprinkle in the saffron water. Cover the lid with a towel and cook till the rice is completely done.
  6. Serve hot with any Emirati stew.
In case if the rice is not soaked, take 4 cups of water while cooking.



  1. says

    Fahad’s website seems to be the only authentic space. You should get that book mentioned in his site. Try to avoid using stock cubes as much as you can. Adding freshly homemade stock or broth will give it a very rich taste. The color has transferred so well on the grains.. 🙂
    Famidha recently posted…Tiramisu | Not Classic | Substitutes UsedMy Profile

    • Rafeeda AR says

      I have tried searching for this book, but unfortunately it is out of print now and there are no used books available… 🙁 I know fresh tastes the best, but mostly I don’t have stock, and cubes are used for almost all recipes of the Gulf, it looks like… hehe… Thanks a lot Fami…

  2. says

    Now that sounds really posh and rich in flavor with the saffron & rosewater.
    I like the addition of the black peppercorns. Black peppercorns are really under utilized in Indian cuisines.
    All my friends that live in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Kuwait use the stock cubes in their rice.
    Bibi Maizoon recently posted…Nepali Style Okra (Bhindi Tareko)My Profile

    • Rafeeda AR says

      Use of stock cubes is so wide spread here, they use it in almost every savory dish. Thank you so much Bibi…

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