Saffron Rice Risotto

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The other day it was cooler and rainy here in Texas so I decided to try a variation of a comfort dish – risotto. Risotto is kind of like a warm, savory version of rice pudding. Typically it requires a lot of stirring, adding liquid, stirring some more, and tons of babysitting during the cooking process. I’m not into all that so I gave a more independent go at this.

Officially it’s probably not a real risotto since I used plain old white rice instead of arborio rice, but the trade off is that you don’t have to stand guard and stir constantly. You only have to stir my version every 15 minutes or so. Much nicer if you ask me and it let’s you work with The Kid on cramming for exam finals. 😉 It still turned out with a creamy texture since the rice breaks down nicely while simmering.

Saffron Rice Risotto Saffron Rice Risotto

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (appx 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed saffron threads
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sake or dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar or white vinegar
  • 16 oz grilled chicken breast, shredded or chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts minced

Heat a pot with a lid over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the rice, ginger, saffron and garlic and cook for about 30 – 60 seconds, stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t burn.

Add the broth, water, and sake or wine, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 – 35 minutes until the rice is nice and soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir every now and then to keep the bottom from burning. You want the consistency of rice pudding.

Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce, vinegar and shredded chicken. Divide evenly into 4 bowls and top with the cilantro and green onions.

Makes 4 servings at approximately 329 calories – 27g protein, 42g carbs, and 4g fat.


  • Like always I used minced garlic in the jar and minced ginger that comes in a tube in the produce section at the grocery store. It just saves so much time that way. In a pinch, you can use 1 tsp ground ginger in place of the fresh.
  • I had leftover sake from my Korean Beef Soup and Low Fat Cajun Shrimp and Grits, so I just used the leftovers from the fridge. You can use white wine in place of the sake.
  • Since the chicken is stirred in at the end, you can easily leave it out or use a different amount based on your protein needs.

I’m big on using leftover bottles of this and that in recipes like I did with the sake above. For most of the ingredients in my recipes, you can do a quick search and find other recipes that use it. I’ve got lots of recipes that use fish sauce, ginger, sake, white wine, champagne vinegar. You never have to worry about using a tablespoon of something and having the rest go bad. 🙂

If you’re wondering why the saffron, it’s simple. Impulse purchase that I’ve been saving for a while now while figuring out how to use it. It was a cloudy day and I thought the color would add a little sunny color. I’m going to be experimenting with saffron to come up with a few other ways to use it.

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