Sholeh Zard | Persian Rice Pudding


Sholeh Zard is a centuries old golden rice pudding flavored with saffron and rose water.  Its fragrant taste and decorative garnishes used give this Persian recipe its distinct character.  One can get quite creative using toppings such as cinnamon, pistachio, almond, candied orange peel and edible miniature roses.


Key ingredients here are pulverized saffron strands and rose water essence.  The rice pudding is gently cooked on low flame until completely dense and tacky.

Once thoroughly chilled garnish as desired.



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1/2 cup short-grain or medium-grain rice, washed until water runs clear
Pinch of salt
4 cups water, plus another 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 -to-1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands, crushed with a pinch of sugar
1/4-to-1/2 cup rosewater
2” cinnamon stick
2 pods green cardamom, lightly crushed; OR 1/4-to-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-to-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Cinnamon, ground pistachio, almond, candied orange peel and rose petals

Combine cardamom and rosewater; set aside. Mix pulverized saffron with one tablespoon hot water; set aside.

To a pot, add rice, salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil then simmer on the lowest setting 30-to-40 minutes until rice is tender. Skim white foam from surface as it forms.

Mix sugar in half a cup hot water until dissolved; add to pot. Simmer 30 minutes until dense; stirring occasionally.

Add saffron infused water to pot; simmer an additional 30 minutes.

Add rose water and cardamom mixture, cinnamon stick and butter. Mix well and continue to simmer as you stir until pudding is completely dense and tacky. Discard cinnamon stick and cardamom pods.

Divide between 4-to-5 individual serving bowls, cool and refrigerate 4+ hours. Once chilled, decorate as desired.



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