Zafrani Pulao

     Welcome to this months Eat the World recipe challenge where we are visiting the country of Bangladesh! Bangladesh is a small south east Asian country bordered on the left by India and Myanmar on the right. Bangladesh has one of the highest population densities in the world, most of which are Muslim. 

     Although Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world their cooking is a delicious mix of herbs, spices, and other delicious aromatics that create an exotic blend of flavors that leave the palate wanting for nothing. 

     For example, today I present Zafrani Pulao. This dish is infused with an abundance of spices and flecked with crunchy cashews and almonds, crisp fried onions, sweet raisins, and refreshing herbs. They all come together to give you a dish that just pops in your mouth as your taste buds weave their way through all the different components set against a beautifully spiced rice. 

Check out all the wonderful Bangladeshi dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! 

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Fulkopir Chop (Bangladeshi Cauliflower Fritters) 
Pandemonium Noshery: Zafrani Pulao 
Making Miracles: Bangladeshi Chicken Korma 
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding) 
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Yogurt and Cilantro Marinated Chicken 

Zafrani Pulao Reipce

1 c. basmati rice
1 bunch cilantro
1 oz. mint leaves
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cumin seeds
10 raisins
10 cashews
10 almonds, chopped
4 cardamom pods
1 inch stick cinnamon
6 cloves
10 peppercorns
3 onions
1 tsp. salt
2 large pinches saffron
2 Tbsp. milk, warm
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp oil, plus more to fry

Place the basmati rice in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat enough oil to fry in a medium skillet until hot. Peel and slice rings of two of the onions. Fry them in hot oil until dark and crisp. Watch them carefully, because of the sugar they go from golden and delicious to bitter and burnt really fast. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Set aside until later use. 

Combine the warm milk and saffron and allow to sit. 

Drain most of the oil from the skillet. Chop the remaining onion and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the onion is golden and starting to caramelize. Turn the heat up to high and add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin seeds, cashews, and almonds. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 

Add the ginger paste and garlic and cook for 2 - 3 minutes more. Add the cilantro, mint, turmeric, sour cream, and cup and a half of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for another 3 minutes. 

Drain the rice and add to the pan. stir to combine, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drizzle with the saffron milk and thin slices of butter. Return the lid to the pan and allow to stand for 10 minutes. 

Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the fried onions, extra chopped cilantro, cashews, raisins, and a tiny pinch of saffron. 


  1. I am actually salivating here....that flavor profile and those crispy onions!! YUM

  2. This dish sounds and looks stunning!!

  3. Oh, my goodness! This looks amazing. I THINK I can easily adapt it to a vegan recipe. We'll see!

  4. Your photos are absolutely amazing - stunning work. They make the dish look like a pile of jewels. I really want to reach in and grab a spoonful! Looks like a great recipe, too.


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