Saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Time out finds out where to get it in Dubai and how to cook it
How to buy it Shirazi Haider, the chef de cuisine at the Iranian restaurant Shebestan, uses vast quantities of saffron in his cooking. According to him, just because saffron may be bright red does not mean it’s fresh: ‘We have to be careful about artificial colouring’ he says. ‘Make sure to touch the product. If it’s not pure and the best of quality, the colour comes off on your skin’. He notes that saffron comes in three grades. Saffron labelled one is the best, and comes from Iran; two is good quality saffron mixed with corn cob, and three is a mix of more inconsistent qualities of saffron. He says you should look for yellowish threads with a rosy smell.
Where to get it Haider advises buying saffron at the Iranian Spice Market in the Deira spice souk. That way, he says, ‘you can feel the texture and understand the quality, whereas in supermarkets, the saffron is packed and packaged’. Good quality saffron, he notes, costs Dhs10,000 per kilo.
How to cook it To fully bring out the flavour of the spice Haider says you should dry the threads, then blend it with a sugar cube, which makes it more powdery. Then boil the powder in water to create a marinade for meat and rice.
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Sunil Bhalla Mar 03, 2010 07:00 am
I never agree with Shirazi Haider,
1, world best Saffron is Kashmir saffron,
2, there should not be YELLOW threads,
3, He might have never seen the quality of saffron I sell with 100% guaranteed Kashmir Saffron,
Please come & see to what we called SAFFRON,
anita Feb 14, 2009 05:41 pm
That's a great tip.
Also,if u have some milk that u've just boiled,keep a few strands that u want to use,for about 10 minutes-its a great way to use them later.
The best branded one that's available in the market comes from a Spanish company called TajMahal,available in a gem-of-a-store called Mohanlal's in Al Ghuwair Market(behind Al Zahra Hospital) in Rolla,Sharjah.
dr. seema bhatia Feb 10, 2009 09:10 am
Trudy Feb 09, 2009 11:25 am
A very interesting review as I have been looking for Saffron in Dubai for months now and have been to all supermarkets, I finally found it in Waitrose at Marina Mall last week , but no one esle seems to sell it. Fantastic in Paella !!
Syeda Khan Feb 09, 2009 10:32 am
Saffron' the wonder spice,has been my favouite as well.I use it to spice up my Pulaos & Biryanis with it's rich fragrance & texture.Not to forget it's sublime taste given to the all time great prawn & joojeh(chicken) kebobs & meat delicacies.To sum up the rich lavish taste of Kheer/ sheerbrinj,faloodeh etc,Saffron can never be left behind.It turns any average dish into a fascinating treat.Specially the almond-egg burfi,what we call Ande-Ki-Piyusi'.Thanks for such a useful reveiw by, Mr.Shirazi Haider.