Saffron(derived from arabic word Zafaran), is the most expensive yet affordable spice, very little is sufficient to impart a golden aromatic flavor to any food. This rare spice grows widely in Mediterranean ,Iran and Kashmir in north India.Saffron is known not just for its unique flavor but also for its medicinal value.
Cultivating saffron is the most labor intensive work. The delicate purple saffron flower blooms for just 1 or 2 weeks in late autumn.The red stigma is delicately plucked , about 150 flowers yield just 1 gram of saffron.I bought my box of Spanish saffron for the exorbitant price of gold ,$7 for 2 grams(.07 ounce).Gifting a box of this exotic spice is a novel idea.
Lavish Saffron enhances Flavorful rice or curries or desserts with a hint of royalty and exotic flavor. A plain vermicelli gets an ambrosial make over with just a pinch of Saffron, sure to cheer up your guests.Reserve this high sugar dessert just for parties or festive occasions.I'm sending it to EC's WYF: Party foods event.
2 cups Thin Vermicelli,break in to smaller pieces(Available in Asian or Middle Eastern Stores)
3/4 cup Sugar
2 whole cardamoms
1/2 cup of any of your choicest dry fruits like Almonds,Cashews,dry dates,Pistachios and Raisins
3 tablespoon Ghee(Clarified Butter)
Big Pinch of saffron
Blanch and roast the dry fruits
In pot of boiling water ,drop the dry fruits and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and peel the almonds and pistachios,remove the seeds from the dry dates. Slice the almonds,pistachios ,dry dates and halve the cashews.
Heat 2 table spoon of ghee in a kadai(deep pan) and saute each of the dry fruits separately in batches until nice and brown. And set aside for garnish.
Roast the Vermicelli
In large pan add a tablespoon of ghee and roast vermicelli until nice and brown,set aside.
Make the Syrup
In a medium saucepan prepare syrup by heating a cup of water,sugar ,cardamoms and saffron. Simmer until water is of thick syrup consistency.
Cook the Vermicelli
Add the roasted vermicelli in to syrup and cover . let cook on low heat until vermicelli is tender.Occasionally stir and add few drops of water if needed . When tender ,mix in the dry fruits and serve warm.