One-Pot Wonders

Sholeh Zard (Persian Saffron Rice Pudding)

May 31, 2019
2 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A delicious twist on the classic comfort food, this Persian saffron rice pudding is unique and very delicious. —Shadi Hasanzadenemati

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Wash the rice in a bowl and drain the water. Repeat this step at least 5 times until the water runs clean. This will help you get rid of the excess starch.
  2. Sprinkle ground saffron over ice cubes and let it melt at room temperature.
  3. Pour 8 cups of water into a large saucepan and bring it to boil. Add the washed rice to the boiling water and let it simmer on medium-low until the rice falls apart. This takes about 45 minutes. While the rice is cooking, keep an eye on it and add more water if needed.
  4. Add in the sugar, bloomed saffron, and cardamom pods. Give it a nice stir, lower the heat, and let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Take out the cardamom pods, add rose water, and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, divide the saffron rice pudding among small bowls, and sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate for an hour. Serve cold or at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ifjuly
  • Shadi Hasanzadenemati
    Shadi Hasanzadenemati
  • Cynthia Feitosa
    Cynthia Feitosa
  • Kelley
Shadi HasanzadeNemati is a food writer and recipe developer at Unicorns in the Kitchen. She loves a good tahdig and her favorite spice is saffron.

6 Reviews

ifjuly February 14, 2020
Thank you for this beautiful recipe and the wonderful accompanying write up. Made this ahead last night in order to celebrate Valentine's Day via a romantic dinner (my personal associations with this flavor combo of rose, cardamom, and saffron in dessert are happy-young-in-love surprise-glowy-flushed memories of elation at date night meals at a dreamy local Persian spot long ago, alas long gone). I was worried it wouldn't set up enough overnight in the fridge but it did, and is beautiful in taste and texture today! I happened to have a leftover garnish mixture (from making ricotta fritters at the same time, woo fun busy kitchen night! :) of finely chopped pistachios, orange zest, fennel pollen, and flaky sea salt, and will garnish with that tonight (already tested a bit for lunch, yummy). Such a beautiful yet yes, comforting dish.
ifjuly February 14, 2020
also meant to mention re: earlier comments, i used the full amount of sugar and don't think it's outlandish given it's standard to need more sweetener in cold desserts and it fits the profile of this kind of dessert, at least as far as i've encountered it, with its many assertive, distinctive flavors in mind. dreamy. i wouldn't be against trying it next time (and there will be a next time!) with less sugar as mentioned below, but love it as written and tbh kinda wish people wouldn't gawk or judge or whatever until they actually try a recipe (hope that's not too combative to say!).
Cynthia F. June 4, 2019
Would it be terrible if I replaced the saffron with turmeric? Real saffron is very hard to come by where I live -- at least for my budget.
Shadi H. June 5, 2019
Hi Cynthia, Yes, unfortunately saffron and turmeric have nothing in common and the flavors are not similar. Is there a Trader Joe's near where you live? I've heard they have saffron for a reasonable price (I think $8 or somthing) Also, check out Mehr saffron's website. That's where I get my saffron and a little bit of their saffron always goes a long way. Hope this helps.
Kelley June 3, 2019
Two cups of sugar per cup of rice?? And it serves four? Can that possibly be right??
Shadi H. June 4, 2019
Hi Kelley, this is quite a sweet rice pudding but the sugar can be reduced to 1.5 cup if needed.