Orange Saffron Rice

This is one creation I am really really happy with – it is going to be my pet main dish for the next few lunches or dinners I will host (not that I play hostess too often but when I do, I like making dishes that are pleasant surprises for the diners and a breeze to prepare).
Anticipating that FIC orange will be lots of carrots, I thought I should try something different and tried putting in all those ingredients that might give this dish an orange colour – not a bright one, but the lovely pastel peach I love! In the process I learnt a new dish, and got introduced to an unusual main dish combo.

Orange is a dieter’s delight – it has a glorious fresh fragrance, lovely bright appearance and you can gorge on the juicy fruit all the while without thinking of the waistline. That is what my nutritionist said, and I used to have at least five a day squirming out of apples all the time – notice the past tense! I love oranges that have a slight tang – not totally sweet. Any thing too sugary is an absolute no-no with me – I like things balanced and subtle, and this rice is perfect in every way. It has a very subtle fruity flavour, not too overpowering but an alluring one, and the slight natural sweetness of ————-, guess what?!

To go with the rice I made aloo-palak (Potatoes in spinach puree) as I love my greens and the best time to consume greens is evenings. Spinach pairs up very well with rice as well as flat breads.

This time Jr.P had two helpings – wonder of wonders! He is forever trying to get out of eating mixed rice varieties like pulao or lemon rice etc., and today when he asked for more I was thrilled (Bollywood Mummy hoti toh kehti – “Aaj tumne mere khaane ki laaj rakh li, beta!” with a few khushi ke aansoo)! P and Jr.H eat heartily even otherwise but P told me he loved it at least five times, so that must mean something. I am not a modest person so you know what I think of the dish!

How to check the quality of cloves?
When you press a clove head between two fingers the scent should be strong. It does give a very subtle oily feel.

If the head powders and there is no scent left behind the quality isn’t good enough but I still wouldn’t discard it.  You will not feel an oil of the same grease as coconut or sunflower. This is one of the many tips given by Sanjeev Kapoor in Khana Khazana during the earlier days.

I shop for spices at ‘Royal dry fruits’ at Mangaldas Market


Vithaldas at one of these places:
Opp. Mangaldas Market, Near Juma Masjid, Mumbai – 400 002.
+91 (22) 2342 5416 / 2342 9269


Fort, Mumbai-400001, Opposite Bombay Stores (Phone: 022-22664950)

They have a wonderful array of sweets, namkeens, powders and spice. If you are in Mumbai, and anywhere near Churchgate or CST/VT, do visit them.

Recipe: Orange Saffron Rice

For the rice:
Rice (I used kolam polished rice) – 2 cups washed and drained before beginning the pulao
Freshly squeezed orange juice – 1 cup
Coconut milk (First milk extract or canned) – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups

Bayleaf – 1 big
Cloves – 4 to 5
Small green cardamom (crushed slightly) – 4
Black peppercorns – 5
Cumin seeds – 2tsps.
About 1/8 tsp of saffron strands infused in a tablespoon of warm water

Veggies (Optional, except for onions)
Onions (sliced thin) – 2 medium
Potatoes (Slit longitudinally and cut into thick wedges) – 2 medium
Fresh shelled peas – 1 cup

Cut the middle portions of an orange into 3mm thick discs. Peel and separate the wedges – about 15 such wedges.
Cashews – 7-10

Oil – 1.5tbsps. (I used even less!)

Infuse the saffron at least 15minutes before you start cutting the vegetables and begin preparation.

Heat the oil. Fry the cashews till golden, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Splutter cumin seeds. Add the spices except the saffron and fry till the cloves swell.

Add the onions and fry till transparent and add the rest of the vegetables and fry for a minute.

Add the strained rice and fry for a minute. Add the water and then the coconut milk and juice. Let it come to a boil. Add the saffron with the water. Adjust salt and cook in open till the rice swells and grains soak up the liquid. They should be separate.

My method of cooking rice:
I usually allow the liquid to boil. When it comes to a boil, I close the cooker and put the whistle. After exactly two minutes, I sim the fire and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Then wait for the cooker to cool naturally to room temperature. This ensures perfect pulao cooking.

Remove the rice, fluff it with a fork and carefully stir in the orange wedges and cashews or simply garnish. I stirred.

Serve garnished with a twisted orange disc – looks yum and tastes great!

Event submission:  This goes to Aparna for FIC orange, an event to celebrate the look of the food started by moi.

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Have your say

  1. what a great pairing–saffron n orange…yum!

  2. Orange rice, yum! I make Orange cake and Muffins, never with rice. Looks wonderful! 🙂

    Oil on Cloves? Sounds good. I get a huge pack usually, they look as dry as wood but might get a drop or two of oil if you put them thru’ oil press! 😀

  3. hve tried orange rice,..its yummy…nd ur platter is temptin me to try again,..:-)hppy weekend,..

  4. One of my friend use to make orange pulav,but she used grated orange rinds(is tht a correct word?)and rest was the same as yours,and just to let u know a coincidence that we use to eat it with chanapalak(spinach with chickpeas) and it was heavenly.It had been a long time since i made this wonderful pulav,i am surely try it this weekend
    Pic looks gr8 haan…..

  5. The flavours in your rice dish sounds amazing.

  6. Hey Harini thanks for the helpful tip regarding cloves and those addresses..Will try to visit ’em next time I am in Mumbai.
    Your orange rice looks gorgeous..Hats off to you for creating such a beautiful recipe:)..I am sure my husband is gonna love me much much more for making this..he is absolutely into food with fresh fruits:D

  7. mmm. rice must have tasted heavenly with the yummy combo. looks mouth-watering Harini! Thanks for the tip to test the quality of cloves. Have a great weekend.

  8. very nice… I too love oranges and grapefruit for the same reason… eat as much as U want without feeling guilty 🙂
    yummy orange rice…innovative 🙂

  9. Amazing pairing Harini..:)

  10. I had these at a friends place, & since then I've been wanting to make this .. might try it sometime .. looks beautiful

  11. another quick question, How about addng Real Orange juice or Minute maid instead of Fresh juice??

  12. Bet it was very flavorful rice, colour looks good like the oranges with rice.

  13. H,
    Orange rice , how innovative that sounds and I bet it will be delicious as well..
    pic looks so appetizing …
    oil and cloves , never occured to my senses or may be I am not getting the fresh ones here …
    hugs and smiles

  14. Sounds yumm..and gawd! You are so
    As am I 🙂

  15. I too have tried orange rice, I have never put orange slices like u have done, looks so yummy…I like orange too…I substitute water to orange!!, because I don’t drink much water,I would like to try the way u have done…, about cloves it is a very interesting information thanks!!

  16. This is so interesting! Will surely try this. I host a lot of people 🙁 so 😀 this is perfect!

  17. Sounds so different! Looks yummy,love to taste it:)

  18. Thanks for waking me up to a full inbox on Saturday, dears!

    Deepti, I have used diluted real orange once in a cake and it turned a little bitter. I do not know for sure but I stopped using shop bought juices in cooking thereafter.

  19. Wow very creative.Orange Rice looks so yummm..Love the addition of juice and pieces..

  20. Archana is “carroty” now, thank god u came up with something else, but sure capturing. I love citrus and the rice sure is a winner!

  21. wow – thats a beautiful looking rice!

  22. Orange juice and coconut milk! Quite a combi Harini. I have made rice with coconut milk … but orange juice is new. Is this slightly sweet to taste? The snaps look awesome. 🙂

  23. I like my oranges anywhere & anything. oranges never go wrong anywhere. Love the rice & the bollywood dialogue:)

    I use orange juice in my zarda.

  24. Orange rice is new to me. Reading the response of your family, I am sure its worth try.

  25. Orange in rice… sounds different… must try as ur snaps look great..

  26. Good idea to provide the names where you can buy stuff.Thank you very much for that Harini…Keep it up….Hope to see many more …especially for the ingredients used in baking , ice cream making and international cooking.Thank you once again.

  27. Sharmila, No it is not overtly sweet. I think one can call it aromatic but not sweet unless you bite into one of the orange pieces.

    Sahiti, Welcome and thanks! I get mails asking where I get a few of the ingredients I use as some are not available in many shops, so I just decided to include that as well. Glad you noted and let me know that it helps:)

  28. Superb Yummy Click Harini…!!

  29. Totally new. I have made orange cakes and used it in kheer, but not in rice. Loved the “khushi ke ansoo” dialouge :-))

  30. Orange rice, thats wonderful! Thats a super recipe,lovely idea Harini.

  31. Looks great! And you were so right about everyone cooking with carrots – but I like the pastel oranges better.

  32. Love the rice,very new to me.Thanks for the info on cloves.You r truly inventing recipes that suit the colour chosen.Love the way you pair it with aloo palak.I love that dish as well.
    BTW,Madamji,FIC: blue ke liye aap ka choice kya hoga?

  33. Thats a very unique recipe…sounds great..lovely pics…

  34. wow! looks refreshing and fragrant. cloves give out oil when hand pressed ???!!! then it’s time for my load to go out 🙂

  35. Children can “make or break” a dish so with so much approval, this definitely seems as delicious as it looks.
    Thanks for joining in on the Orange fun.:)

  36. Amazing recipe.. I have never tasted orange in rice.. I love oranges and the pics are too tempting. Its really sweet of you to mention as to where do you buy spices from. It will actually save a few queries to you 😀 Good info on clove..
    LOL over the bollywood dialogue

  37. What a creative and wonderful dish Harini, it must have been bursting with flavor 🙂

  38. The rice recipe sounds wonderful. I also like how spinach can go so well with either bread or rice.

  39. This looks very interesting and delicious! Thanks for the recipe and tips..

  40. We usually eat oranges after the meal,why not eat with the rice itself,pulao looks really really tempting,yum!

  41. Love your pix! Orange rice as well as the carrot halwa look super-fabulous! And happy hosting for FIC! Will try to make something pink for your event.

  42. This recipe is really going to keep me busy in the kitchen with all its glamor. This is another must for the weekend! My kids would just hug me for this. Heavenly rice!

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