I (Julia) tried this dish for the first time a few weeks ago during a cooking session with Free to Feed, and I fell completely in love with it. This rice pudding is slicker than your average – golden yellow and beaming with saffron, rosewater and cardamom, it is really so good. It is called ‘Sholeh Zard’ in Persian, and is one of Hamed’s favourites to teach in his classes!
Hamed stresses the importance of good quality saffron – it should be super fragrant and preferably Iranian. We’ve made this version a bit more indulgent by adding cream and cooking the rice partly in milk, something that Hamed now says he will always do!
Usually, Sholeh Zard is topped simply with ground cinnamon, pistachios and a sprinkling of rosewater, however here, we’ve roasted some stunning rhubarb in orange blossom water and aromatics to pair with it. You could serve with any roasted or poached fruit, depending on the season. The pudding will become firm once refrigerated, so if not eating immediately, make the pudding a little more loose by adding some extra milk during the cooking.