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Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple


By Najmieh Batmanglij

Published 2015

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Saffron crocuses in the field in Qaenat in eastern Iran.

Saffron is made from the dried orange stigmas of the saffron crocus. When buying the spice, choose threads rather than powder (which is too often adulterated with turmeric). Saffron threads need to be ground before using. Iranian saffron (sold in small quantities of 1 mesqal/4.7g) is the best. Here’s how to prepare saffron for cooking. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind the threads into a powder with 1 sugar cube (the sugar absorbs the moisture and helps the grinding process). Use 1 teaspoon of the ground saffron (if you have more, store it in an airtight glass container in the freezer). Then, in a glass container, dissolve 1 teaspoon of saffron powder in ¼ cup (60 ml) hot water. For even more flavor, you can use rose water or orange blossom water instead of hot water. Store in an airtight glass bottle in the fridge for up to 3 weeks and use as needed.