Pine Nut and Saffron Pilaf

A wonderfully stylish way to jazz up your rice, moreish white basmati rice studded with golden brown pine nuts and aromatic saffron - from Sophie Grigson
By Sophie Grigson
Pine Nut and Saffron Pilaf
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • generous pinch of strands saffron
  • 600 ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 85 g butter
  • 250 g basmati rice, rinsed and thoroughly drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • green cardamom
  • salt and black pepper
  • 85 g pine kernels
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley

To serve:

  • 200 g Greek yogurt
  • 3 clove garlic, minced


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

2. To make the pilaf, put the saffron into a small bowl and spoon over 2 tablespoons of the hot stock. Leave to steep until needed.

3. In a heavy-based saucepan, add 30g of the butter and fry the onion and garlic gently, without browning, until softened.

4. Add the rice, bay leaf and cardamom pods and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the remaining stock and season with salt and pepper.

5. Bring it up until it's just simmering and cover tightly. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and leave to cook undisturbed for 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile mix the yoghurt with the minced garlic.

7. In a frying pan, lightly fry the pine nuts in half the remaining butter until lightly browned.

8. Check the rice - it should be just nicely cooked and all the liquid should have been absorbed. If not, uncover and let it boil for a few minutes.

9. Turn the heat off and stir in the chopped parsley and saffron-infused stock.

10. Spoon the rice into a shallow dish, sprinkle with the golden brown pine nuts and dot around the last of the butter. Cover with foil and pop into a warm oven to steam and keep warm - it can stay there happily for half an hour or so. Serve with the garlicky yoghurt.

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