• 2 Cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 Cup coconut milk
  • 6 Tablespoons butter or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 Cup finely chopped red onions
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 (3-inch pieces) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Cup California golden raisins, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 11/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup slivered almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro


Gently rinse rice 3 to 4 times in cold water; drain well. Set aside.

In small skillet, toast saffron threads over medium-high heat 20 to 30 seconds or until they turn one shade darker. Add to coconut milk; stir well. Set aside.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat; add onions, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until onions soften slightly.

Stir in cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally to blend flavors.

Add rice, saffron-coconut milk, 1/2 cup California golden raisins, sugar, salt and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; stir once. Cover; cook 10 minutes more. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, 5 minutes more; set aside.

In small skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir-fry 1/2 cup California golden raisins and almonds 1 to 2 minutes or until raisins are plump and nuts turn golden brown. Stir in cilantro; set aside.

Fluff rice with fork; discard cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish with stir-fried California golden raisins and nuts.

Notes: Basmati rice, a highly aromatic variety grown in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, is widely available in supermarkets.

Purchase saffron threads. Avoid buying saffron powder because it may not be in a pure form.

Pullaos are often served with the main course – either meat-based or vegetarian – as the starch alternative.

Large stalks of fresh cilantro, when deep fried, will yield dark green crispy stalks, ideal for garnishing the serving platter.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories 400 (Calories from Fat 31%); Total Fat 14 ( Saturated Fat 7; Trans Fat 0; ); Cholesterol 25; Sodium 460; Potassium 327; Total Carbohydrate 63; Dietary Fiber 3; Sugars 19; Protein 6; Calcium 47; Iron 1;

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Raisins are great food choices for most individuals, including those with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
- by James W. Anderson, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Emeritus, University of Kentucky.