This easy vegan saffron rice is so flavorful thanks to using the tadka technique famous in Indian cuisine.
Tadka is the Hindi word for ‘tempering’ and in Indian cuisine, that means to fry spices in a bit of oil or ghee until aromatic before adding it to a dish. This can happen at the beginning of the dish or the end of the dish to add flavor. It’s similar to the concept of blooming spices, though adding the tempered spices at the end–along with the frying oil–creates the most amazing sizzling sound and aroma.
This easy vegan saffron rice only needs a few ingredients. The most important is the saffron.
You can use your favorite brand of saffron, though my favorite is this Authentic Moroccan Saffron from Casablanca Market.
After you’ve picked your saffron, gather the rest of the ingredients.
- Vegan butter, vegan ghee, or coconut oil
- Basmati rice
- Dry fenugreek
- Black mustard seeds
- Dry cumin
How to make this easy vegan saffron recipe:
First, rinse the rice under cold water for 1 minute and then transfer it to a pot and cover with water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the salt.
As you wait for the rice to boil, heat a small pot over medium heat and add the vegan butter. Add the fenugreek, mustard seeds, and cumin and cook for 1 minute until fragrant, stirring often. Turn off the heat.
Once the rice is boiling, turn the heat to low and sprinkle the saffron on top. Pour the hot spices (butter and all) over the rice. It should sizzle and pop. Cover and cook for 15–18 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing and stirring to incorporate the spices into the rice.
How to serve it? Try it with this Vegan Yellow Lentil Stew!
Easy Vegan Saffron Rice
- Small pot
- Small skillet or pot
- Fine-mesh sieve
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of saffron, approximately 8 threads
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter or vegan ghee
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed between your fingers
Rinse the rice:
- Place the basmati rice in a fine mesh sieve and run it under cold water for 1 minute. Use your hands to swirl the rice around under the running water. After the rice is rinsed, pour it into a pot and cover with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat to high.
Temper the spices:
- Melt the vegan butter into another small pot over medium-high heat. Add the fenugreek, black mustard seeds, and cumin seeds and cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Turn off the heat.
Simmer the rice:
- Once the water on the rice begins to boil, stir the rice once. Sprinkle the saffron on top and then pour the hot spices along with the butter or oil into the pot over the rice. It will sizzle and pop!
- Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cover the rice. Cook for 15–18 minutes or until the rice is fluffy. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid on the rice and fluff with a fork to incorporate the rice and saffron throughout. Taste and season to your preferences. Serve with your favorite grilled vegetables or alongside stews or curries. Enjoy!