Lemon Saffron Rice with Almond Slivers

Saffron, one of the most expensive ingredients in the planet, can be quite intimidating to make. But with practice and panache, you'll be cooking dishes fit for royalty in no time at all!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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I put down my book, took off my sunglasses, took a sip of ice-cold lemonade, and plunged in the pool.

My favourite season has officially arrived.

I love everything about summer. I love going to the beach with my family and taking a dip in one of the most beautiful beaches this side of the globe. I love feeling the cool ocean breeze in my hair as I surf. I love diving into pristine waters and discovering the diverse marine life that resides in the deep blue sea. I love building sand castles and memories with the little ones. I love the taste of saltwater on my lips as Mr. Flintstone and I sling back a margarita or two.

I love grilling food in the summer—from chicken satay to babyback ribs. I love grilling fish, grilling vegetables—I even tried grilling tofu much to the chagrin of the house help who ended up cleaning the grill!

What I don’t like though, is getting bloated during bikini season.

One thing I’ve learned from Ashtanga yoga class is it is possible to eat lean and clean without sacrificing flavour. And so for our family’s annual barbecue cookout—I decided to trade fatty slabs of ribeye for spiced up chunks of beef sirloin. In short, this year, it’s less like Bobby Flay, and more like Yotam Ottolenghi.

For starters, we have watermelon and arugula salad, studded with feta cheese and toasted pine nuts, and drizzled with red wine vinaigrette. Sweet, nutty, salty, and tart—this salad not only tastes good, it is actually good for you. Our main dish is grilled beef kebabs marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper, coriander seed, and zatar, served with a cool yogurt tahini dip. The grilled beef kebabs are accompanied by grilled vegetable kebabs, grilled corn, and aromatic lemon saffron rice with toasted almond. Light, nutritious, and filling—these dishes are as flavourful as they are guilt-free.

Do wash all of this down with a glass of dayap margarita with homemade mango sorbet. I’m not a nutritionist, but with all the vitamin C in there, it may be good for you after all. Don’t take me seriously, I’m kidding!

Or am I?

As for the dessert, well, to be quite honest, it’s not exactly the most healthy choice. It’s composed of buttery puff pastry, succulent peaches, brown sugar vanilla cream with cinnamon and nutmeg, and lastly—salted caramel sauce made more potent by a generous shot of bourbon.

I understand. You worked your glutes off at plana forma classes to look like you haven’t given birth at all. You still have 2 upcoming beach trips. In fact, your swim suit costs more than the plane ride to one of those beach trips! You have the option to skip dessert.

But why would you? :)

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Lemon Saffron Rice with Almond Slivers


Lemon saffron rice:

A pinch of saffron
6 tbsp Norco salted butter
½ cup shallots, minced
2 cups Basmati rice, washed
¼ cup lemon juice


Almond slivers, lightly toasted
1 tbsp parsley, chopped


  1. Heat 2 cups of water; turn heat of before it boils. Let saffron bloom in the heated water.
  2. Saute rice and shallots in salted butter for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice.
  3. Pour saffon water mixture.Cook rice until it becomes fluffy.
  4. Turn off heat. Pour rice in a large shallow container (such as a baking pan or serving platter) and garnish with lightly toasted almond and chopped parsley.

Easy 5-step recipes featuring the freshest and most exciting ingredients from Rustan's Supermarket.