Say hello to my favourite dessert growing up! Sholeh zard is an aromatic Persian rice pudding dish made with rosewater, saffron and sugar. It’s slowly cooked and makes your house smell amazing.
My mom used to make this only for special occasions, but truth be told, it’s quite easy to whip up. Its vibrant yellow colour is due to the saffron — a very common spice in Persian households! While you can serve it as is, it is usually decorated with cinnamon, dried rose petals and slivered pistachios.
This recipe requires 2 hours chill time.
In a medium pot, combine rinsed rice, water and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to low. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour, partially covered. Occasionally stir and using a wooden spoon, slightly press rice up against side of pot, slightly crushing it.
In the meantime, add saffron to a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons hot water, slightly stir and cover with a small plate. Set aside until needed.
At the 1 hour mark, add in sugar, rosewater, almonds and saffron into the rice pot. Mix well.
Cover your pot lid with a tea towel. Place on top of pot and continue to cook on low heat for an additional 30 minutes. (Stir every so often so rice doesn’t get stuck to bottom of pot).
When done, mixture will have a pudding like consistency. There might still be a touch of liquid, that is fine as it will continue to harden.
Immediately place into individual serving bowls or 1 large dish.
Let slightly cool and then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and decorate with pistachios, rose petals and cinnamon. Serve cold.