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Moroccan Rice Pilaf with Saffron

User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)



Moroccan Rice Pilaf with Saffron

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

This delicious rice pilaf can stand alone as a side dish, but I usually serve it as a bed of rice for savory Moroccan Saffron Chicken.

Try the vegetables I've suggested, or use up to one cup of any diced vegetables of your choice to add color and flavor.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 small pieces (2 to 3") of cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/8 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas*
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped*
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped*
  • 4 1/2 cups (about 1 liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed


* You can substitute other vegetables of your choice, up to 1 cup.


In a sauce pan, heat the stock almost to boiling.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients – except the saffron – in a very large skillet or shallow stock pot. Cook the rice and vegetables over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the rice begins to color.

Add the stock and saffron to the rice, stirring only once. Bring the stock to a simmer, and taste for salt. Adjust the seasoning if desired. Cover the rice, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently and undisturbed, for about 25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Clay Pot Party, Member CherieScillia

Thank you for this recipe! It was delicious and fragrant. I made it for a Clay Pot Cooking Party I hosted at my house. I used an olla clay pot. I remember in the Philippines, we used a similar pot called a 'palayok' for cooking rice. This foto shows the rice mid-stage, before adding the stock.

5 out of 5 people found this helpful.

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