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Recipe: Saffron rice & salan

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A traditional Awadhi dish dug out from the secret kitchens of Awadh

Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 3o minutes

1kg chicken breast
1 litre milk
1tsp saffron
4tsp fennel
10 green cardamoms
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (1″)
Refined oil to deep fry
Salt to season

For the batter
¼ cup basmati rice
½ fennel power
½ tsp tallow chilli powder
10 tsp yoghurt


-Wash and soak the rice in water for 1hour.
-Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces. Boil the milk and the chicken pieces, saffron, fennel, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and simmer over medium heat until tender. Remove the chicken pieces and reserve the liquids. Keep the chicken pieces in the refrigerator.
-Drain the rice and put in a blender with the yellow chili powder, fennel powder, salt, 100ml of the reserved liquid and make a fine paste. Whisk the yoghurt and add to the paste.
-Skewer 4 chicken pieces, without any gap, on 4″ wooden skewers. Heat the oil in a karhai. Dip the skewers in the batter and deep fry over medium heat till the golden and crisp. Serve hot.


For saffron rice
1 cup white basmati rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. saffron threads
½ tsp shahi jeera
3 cardamoms
2 tbsp- ghee
Water – 2 cups


-Heat ghee. Saute the shahijeera and then add spices. Add rice and saute for 3-4 mins. Add 2 cups water (water should be double the quantity of the rice), saffron, salt and cover it with lid. Allow it to cook till done.


For the salan
3 medium sized onions
1 cup fresh curd
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander seeds powder
As required oil
To taste salt
½ stick cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
2 bayleaves
Few drops of kewra essence
½ cup cashewnuts
1 tsp shahijeera
3 to 4 green chillies
A few drops of rose water


-Peel and thinly slice the onions. Heat oil in a lagaan on the gas and brown the onions.
-Heat oil in a pan and roast the cashewnuts. Cool and place in cold water. Drain off excess water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Grind the fried onions to a paste.
-Heat oil in a pan and add the whole garam masalas, shahijeera, browned onion paste, cashew nut paste, powdered masalas and cook on a medium flame.Add slit green chillies, curd, salt and cook on a slow flame. Add few drops of kewra essence and rose water and mix well.

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