December 4, 2015

Monthly Mystery Munchies #8: Aromatic Spiced Saffron Rice

Rice is a staple in Asian diet, and in some countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, rice is usually eaten for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Bit much, no? While I can’t quite stomach it for 3 square meals a day everyday, I DO like my rice.  We make other dishes to go with rice that makes a meal. 

It is kind of boring to just eat white rice, day in , day out, though. The good thing is, there are several ways in which can you cook rice. The usual is just boiling or steaming uncooked rice, in a rice cooker, which incidentally is a staple in every Asian household. And when that’s done, you can eat it just like that.

Or,  you make fried rice and add a whole bunch of stuff in it. If you find that boring, you can make buttered rice. Or add some tomatoes to make tomato rice. Better yet, make a buttered tomato rice. You can also choose to ferment boiled rice to make a whole bunch of other by-product of rice. But that’s for another time. 

My point is, the possibility with rice can be endless, and it need not be boring.

That’s what brought me to suggest a theme of getting creative with rice for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies with Gen. Not forgetting that December is a month of festivity with Christmas and New Year coming up, I thought I’ll also throw in a spanner to also make it a little Christmassy feel. Or at least, make it look a little Christmassy. Heh!

This festive rice is pretty easy to make. It’s loaded with different types of spices using cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom which make it aromatic. Your home will be too after all that cooking! Add some saffron for a little flavour and to give it a bit of colour; use some pandan leaves (optional) for fragrance. Definitely convenient to make if you have a rice cooker.  We just can’t live without a rice cooker, here!

And to make it Christmassy? Just add a few drops of green colouring, garnish it with coriander and/or raisins even mint leaves. My daughter calls it the rainbow rice, and she loves it. It’s all very vegetarian too. No meat used, although you are allowed to use cube stocks.

Gen would easily ace this, and because she’s always so creative and experimental with her food, I’ll be looking forward to feature her recipe tomorrow. But, if you can’t wait till then, hop over to her site now for a peek of what she’s got brewing in her kitchen to give you some ideas for the weekend!

Spiced Saffron Rice
Serves 8
Spiced, fragrant and aromatic rice. The aroma will fill your home!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 4 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
  2. 2 tbsp butter or ghee
  3. 2 cardamoms, crushed
  4. 2cm cinnamon stick
  5. 2 cloves
  6. 1 star anise
  7. 3cm old ginger
  8. 1 clove garlic
  9. 4 shallots, minced
  10. 1 onion, sliced
  11. 1 cube of meat stock
  12. 2-3 pieces of pandan leaves, knotted (optional)
  13. 1 cup evaporated milk
  14. Just enough water
  15. 1 tspn salt or to taste
  16. A few drops of colouring of orange and green
  1. Pound or blitz garlic, ginger and onions together. Set aside.
  2. Heat butter or ghee in a deep pot. Add in minced shallot and fry them till golden brown.
  3. Throw in the spices into the pan and fry for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the pounded ingredients. Fry till it gets aromatic
  5. Add in the drained rice into the pot. Mix well and stir fry for a few minutes
  6. Transfer all of the rice into the rice cooker
  7. Add in evaporated milk and meat stock
  8. Add just about enough water (not too much or the rice will be too soggy) and stir it all up. Throw in the pandan leaves
  9. Close the cover of the rice cooker and cook.
  10. While the rice is just about cooking, add a pinch of saffron in a little water and mix it together with the rice. This will colour the rice
  11. Check every once in a while to make sure that the rice is not under-cooked. if it is, add some water.
  12. Once the rice is cooked, mix well. Add in a few drops of colouring and roughly mix them to spread the colour around
  13. Garnish with raisins and/or mint leaves
  14. Serve hot.
  1. Using long grain rice, like basmati will give the best results. This can be eaten with curry or any other dish. Also good to eat it on its own.
Grubbs n Critters
Monthly Mystery Munchies features every first Friday of the month in collaboration with Gen, Author of Eat, Play, Clove. Next month will be Gen’s turn to choose a theme…or something she fancies. Could be some crazy ideas she’s got up her sleeves. Until then!

#FoodieFriDIYs #HomeMatters  #ThursdayFavouriteThings #HowWeRollThurs


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  1. Gen

    Aaaaan! Well done, what a creative dish! And of course we both used saffron and basmati. We’re totes on the same wavelength! I am so impressed with what you’ve done, it looks delish, and kudos on adding the food colouring – that was inspired 🙂 One question – what’s pandan? Hope your trip is going well. Xoxo

    • Hehehee! Thank you, Gen! I kinda cheated on the food colouring, and glad that you found it inspiring. 😀 Isn’t it cool we used the same key ingredients? We have yet to coincide with the same dish! Hmmm…pandan…I should have explained what it is. It looks like this: null
      Otherwise known as Pandanus or screwpine. Outside Asia, you might be able to get it in powdered form from the herbs/spices section. I wish I can let you see and smell it – it’s a wonderful plant with many uses!

  2. Yum. I have yet to add spices to my boring rice, lol.

    • Spices make old white rice less boring. 😀 It’s fun to make! Let me know if you try it, Jas!

  3. This sounds scrumptious!

  4. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop


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