Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 2, 2007 10:49 AM

Saffron ?

Best use and in what recipes?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Saffron really is used quite a bit for coloring dishes. It's so pricey, cooking with it for flavor is often just too expensive. It's used a great deal in Asian dishes. It's one of the important ingredients in a good paella though too. You can substitute turmeric if you don't want to spend all the money on saffron. If it's ground, you can bet it's been mixed with something else like turmeric unless you are certain of the source.
    It's really very good for you- lots of medicinal qualities in high enough amounts.
    Add it to Indian food, Spanish food, whatever really you like. It's used all over the world. Anything you want to add a slightly bitter, hay/earthy flavor to and of course, yellow color, would be good for saffron. The threads mix well with a blend of roasted veggies and poultry, add it to rice for color and a little flavor. It's pretty to use and goes with most any savory dish in my opinion.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Cornbread

      Used in risotto, paella, etc. It , in my opinion is more that just an expensive coloring agent(think tumeric). It has a wonderful flavor that can not be duplicated any other way. An a little goes a long your cost per usage is not all that bad. Go to a local high end restaurant supply house (Surfas, here in L.A) Much cheaper that grocery store prices

      1. re: nyfoodjoe

        True, a little does go a long way. I'm sure prices in LA are better than CO. LOL...
        It would be cheaper for me to fly to LA and buy it than try to get the real thing where I'm at!

        1. re: Cornbread

          Penzey's top grade saffron is excellent and extremely reasonably priced. I'll never buy saffron at a grocery or gourmet store.

      2. re: Cornbread

        Also in roti or naan. Mix strands and soak water with the flour.

        Always soak the saffron in a bit of water prior to use; use water and saffron.

        1. re: Cornbread

          I'm in the middle of cooking lamb tagine and for some reson the saffron I used this time its much stronger in taste that previously used. Is there anything that I can add to my dish to slightly reduce the taste of it? ,

        2. Goes really well with seafood, especially shell fish dishes. Like the others suggested, Paella and risotto.

          1. i love it in biriyani and in shrikand. both are indian dishes. biriyani is a rice dish and shrikand is a yogurt dessert.

            1. A year or so ago, the NY Times ran a recipe for fried chicken that involved soaking the chicken parts overnight in a saffron-infused whole-milk yogurt mixture. I made it a few times but have since lost the recipe. It was wonderful, though.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Jim Washburn

                  Yes, thank you so much! Have you tried it? I loved it; but more importantly, my elderly father--hardly an adventurous eater--also loved it.

              1. I've been thinking about saffron a lot lately and I think I'll splurge and get some from Penzey's. I've heard their Spanish paprika is excellent too.

                Giada is doing saffron orzo right now as part of a grilling show. I've never done that, but I have used saffron in butternut squash and pumpkin risottos. I love orzo, but I don't know that I would use saffron there.

                I started feeling very curious about saffron:

                Saffron comes from a purple crocus! The threads come from the stigma, the part of the piston that receives pollen, and each thread is hand-plucked with tweezers! These flowers bloom for a very short period each year (2 weeks) and I think each individual flower sticks around for only one day!

                Something else I didn't know: saffron is responsible for that deep golden color used by Buddhist monks in their robes! WOW. I saw those all over Thailand and Laos, and never connected the color with saffron. So it's highly coveted for medicinal and culinary benefits, *and* used as a dye.

                Here's where I found lots of these tidbits:

                1 Reply
                1. re: foxy fairy

                  It is a remarkable crop. Here in Spain it is grown in La Mancha. Check out these photos:


                  If it doesn't have a strong aroma, then it's probably too old or wasn't stored properly.