No. When it comes to saffron, you’re buying a commodity, and not a culture. The Indian tradition of eating saffron in this country is ancient and is much like the ancient practice of eating the skin of an Asian palm tree. In India, the skin of an Asian palm is used to prepare curries or pickled dishes, which can be made from various different types of spices. The name “sage” comes as a result of the way those spices are used, which is to add a deep, dark colouring to saffron based sauce, called “saffron masala,” or “saffron butter.”
I’ve lived on a farm and have enjoyed many different dishes that are made in similar ways, like dals or basmati rice, using saffron based dal. However, one thing that I can say is that the use of saffron in Indian style cuisine has been evolving over the years, starting with simple recipes and then evolving into something like this.
I have some saffron that I have saved in various jars along with a small jar of fresh mint leaves from my garden and I’ve used it in different dishes. It has been used in my makhani, or lentil stew, and I have used it in a lot of my dishes like my “Gothic” rice pilaf and even in the salad that I make in summer.
I don’t want to be making any false claims because it’s the nature of such things to evolve, but I will tell you that saffron used in this dish, with the addition of fresh mint leaves, adds a deeper, earthy flavour to the sauce. It is very pleasing to eat.
The sauce is made by simmering the sauce ingredients. A few changes need to be made before the sauce reaches an acceptable consistency:
1. If you use canned saffron, the best time to do this is between 1 hour and 1-2 hours. However, that will depend on the variety of green saffron you have, so use your taste and taste of how fresh the saffron is so its flavour will vary. It can also take longer, depending on how fresh the water from your can is.
2. If you are using fresh Indian mint leaves, you may want to add them after it has thawed, as they are bitter if you add them before it has thawed, and will sour the recipe.
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