Mama Nunna’s Saffron Rice Pudding – Sholeh Zard

This is my Mama Nunna and Bubba Hassan.


They were married when she was just 19. My dad is the oldest of her 6 children. And she has helped , and is still helping, to raise all of the (many, many) grandchildren on my dad’s side of the family.

That means this lady is really some kind of miracle worker in the kitchen.

I don’t speak Farsi and she doesn’t really speak English. Our communication is limited to my very sad sentences (mostly food- related and “I love youuu!”) with lots of smiles and kisses dotted between. My only request whilst we were home last April was to indulge in some serious grandma time and grandma food.

I nearly had to be rolled out of her apartment, but on the way out I couldn’t notice that picture. She saw how much I admired it, and ran off to give me a copy.

And now, rice pudding.

IMG_2990 IMG_2993 IMG_2999

This is one of my favorite things that she makes. It’s neon yellow from it’s saffron bath. Sticky-sweet from rosewater. Fragrant from crushed cardamon pods. And every bite is delicious.

This is Mama Nunna’s Saffron Rice Pudding.

Audio Pairing: A Csitari Hegyek Alatt by Oi Va Voi


Mama Nunna's Saffron Rice Pudding

By DellaCucinaPovera Published: July 31, 2014

  • Yield: 3-4 Servings
  • Prep: 1hour min

This is my Mama Nunna and Bubba Hassan. They were married when she was just 19. My dad is the oldest of her 6 children. And she …



  1. Crushyour cardamom pods in your rosewater and set aside. Grind saffron with 1 tsp of sugar.
  2. Cook your rice until tender, reserving 3 tbsp of hot rice water.
  3. Add your rice water to the ground saffron/sugar mix and allow to brew for a few minutes.
  4. Add the remainder of the sugar to the rice and cook for another half hour until the water and rice become dense. In the mean time be sure to stir the rice every so often so that it does not stick to the bottom. Add brewed saffron and continue to cook for another half hour.
  5. Add rose water with cardamom pods and slivered almonds. Mix well. At this point you can continue cooking the pudding on the stove top on low until it is completely dense, or place it in an oven proof pot and put it in the oven. THEN turn the oven to 350º and leave the pudding in there for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Discard cardamom pods. Place the Sholeh Zard in small bowls or in one big shallow oval or rectangular dish. Garnish with cinnamon and slivered pistachios. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours. Serve chilled.

    WordPress Recipe Plugin by ReciPress


    1. Mary says

      Nice post and nice picture of your grandma and grandpa. While Basmati rice is good for making regular ” polow or chelo” , it is not the best option for Sholeh Zard or persian Ash. Jasmine rice will give you a very silky and smooth texture when used in making Sholeh Zard or Ash. In fact Iranians use different types of rice grain for different food items.

    2. says

      What a nice story – and just goes to show a relationship can be built over shared love of food even despite language barriers. Thank you for sharing the classic sholeh zard! It actually loosely translates to ‘jiggly yellow’ :)

    Leave a Reply