Saffron, Rice Pudding and Afghanistan on Spice & Recipe

The red gold of spices used in a traditional Afghan recipe that Maryam Amini, originally from Afghanistan and now of Omaha, Nebraska, prepares regularly for her American children.

Saffron is the most expensive spice that originated in Iran but is now cultivated in many countries, including Afghanistan.

Maryam Amini left Afghanistan when she was ten years old. She calls Nebraska, U.S.A. home. Although, Maryam’s repertoire of dishes has expanded to include American recipes to adopt to her two American-born sons’ liking, still, the Afghan rice pudding remains a regular entry, again, as per her children’s request.

Maryam shares the secret of the Afghan rice pudding, a must-have dessert during the holy month of Ramadan, in this episode of Spice & Recipe.

Spice & Recipe:The Origins of Flavor with Mike DiGiacomo is a weekly show that you can watch locally in Omaha, Nebraska on KPAO-TV, Cox 1022 or Century Link 89, and worldwide on the NAM YouTube channel or this website.



  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 6 cups of white low-quality rice
  • 6 tablespoons brewed saffron
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 lightly cracked green cardamoms pods
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 9 cups of water or more, depending on the desired rice consistency
  • Ground cinnamon and slivered almonds

In a large bowl, cover rice with water and rinse it five or seven times until water runs clear. Cover the rice and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to cook, drain the water and crumble the rice using your hands.

In a large nonstick saucepan, combine rice, water, salt, cardamom and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer, stirring frequently until the rice is ready, about 30 minutes. Remove cardamom pods. Stir in butter, sugar, almonds, rose water, saffron and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Spoon the pudding in a big serving plate and decorate with cinnamon and almonds. Wait for about 30 minutes for the rice pudding to cool and thicken before serving.


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April 4, 2022

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