Saffron (English)

Kesar (Hindi)

     Saffron threads as they are also called are orange-red dried stigmas of a small purple flower called the Crocus Sativus.  Saffron's aroma is unique and there is no substitute for it. It is used in cooking to flavor and color the dish a wonderful golden yellow color. In Indian cooking it is highly prized and added to many Indian sweets and "special occasion" savory dishes like Biryani, Pulaos  and even some curries. 

A little pinch of the threads goes a long way. There are two techniques for getting every bit of flavor out of the saffron: toasting and powdering the threads, and steeping the saffron ahead of time in hot water or broth. Saffron should always be bought as a whole and not in the powdered from. The threads should be crushed just before using. Store saffron airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months or in the refrigerator.

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