Saffron Pudding By Najmieh Batmanglij

8 servings.

1 cup rice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
7 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw pistachio kernels
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dis­solved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup rose water

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons slivered almonds
1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped pistachios


Clean and wash the rice, changing the water several times. Drain. In a large pot, combine the rice and salt with 7 cups water, and bring to a boil, skimming the foam as it rises. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is quite soft. Add the sugar, stirring constantly with a long, wooden spoon for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the oil, pistachios, saffron water, cardamom, and rose water. Stir well. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until you have thick, smooth pudding. Remove from heat and immediately spoon the pudding into individual serving bowls or a large bowl. Decorate right away (before the pudding has cooled) with cinnamon, almonds, orange peel, and pistachios. Allow to cool at room temperature, then chill in refrigerator. Serve the pudding chilled.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!