A Healthy Saffron Chicken Recipe

I haven't posted a chicken recipe in the longest time because I quite rarely eat meat (I prefer my veggies).  However, since I've recently been trying to change up my diet a little bit by eating animal protein once a week I decided to make some saffron chicken...

For those of you who don't know, saffron is often referred to as the "king of spices".  Thousands of flowers are required to produce a few grams of this fragrant spice.  A friend of ours gave us the saffron I used in this recipe as a gift from Iran which is quite a treat as the Persians have the highest quality saffron in the world. 
Some of the reported health benefits of saffron include: decreasing cholesterol levels, curing insomnia and improving blood circulation.  Saffron was also traditionally used to treat digestive problems as well as bladder and kidney disorders. 
This is quite an easy recipe to make and it calls for few ingredients.  The saffron taste is definitely quite strong in this dish, so if you prefer a more subtle taste feel free to decrease the quantity accordingly.

2 boneless chicken breasts (use organic if you can)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon of flour dissolved in it (you can use cream if you wish but this is a lighter alternative)
1 tsp saffron threads, freshly ground in a mortar and pestle
1/2 handful fresh cilantro
1/2 handful fresh parsley
Red chili flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add salt and pepper to both sides of the chicken
2. Heat oil in a large skillet (I used an iron-handle one which I think works best. If you don't have one any other type is fine)
3. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook the chicken on both sides until cooked through (about 4-5 minutes on each side)
4. Remove the chicken and set aside
5. Add the onions to the same skillet.  Cook until browned.
6. Add the garlic, cook until browned (not burnt - keep stirring)
TIP: If you feel that the skillet is too dry instead of adding more oil add some water (carefully so that you don't burn yourself).  Just add a little at a time and that will help transfer the flavor from the chicken to the onions and garlic as well.
7. Next add the milk-flour mixture. Your pan should be very hot by now and the sauce should bubble immediately as in the picture below:

8. Add the saffron, parsley and cilantro.  The sauce should gradually turn bright yellow.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste
10. Add red chili flakes to taste
11. Return the chicken breasts to the creamy sauce
12. Cook for a couple of minutes
13. Serve hot with basmati rice

Serves 2

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If you enjoyed this dish you may want to try these:
Murg Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
An Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
Creamy Mushroom Chicken


  1. Wow! Very nutritious and flavorful! I'd have it with fried rice!

  2. Hello Nirvana!

    Brussels calling!! Your saffron chicken recipe sounds so tasty & fab!! I also love your sunny presentation!

    Lovely dish!

  3. Thaaaank you Sophie and Nanindi :):):)

  4. this saffron chicken looks great! delicious!

  5. Thanks Azita! Thanks for visiting!! :)

  6. I made saffron chicken as per your recipe last night and it turned out unbelievably good. The milk turned out to be rather creamy by the end and I loved eating it with basmati rice. If saffron wasn't as expensive as it is, I would be making it at least once a month. But considering how much I enjoyed the flavors first time, I am sure I will be making it at least one more time this year. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.
    btw, what's the best place to get saffron in US? I get mine from Indian grocery stores. Is there any cheaper alternative?

  7. TD: I am sooooo glad you liked the chicken - the milk does turn out creamy and is less heavy and fattening than cream :) So glad it worked out for you.

    Yea, saffron is uber expensive -- to be honest I am not sure where to get it in the U.S. I get most of my spices when I am back home in Egypt and I got my saffron as a present from a Persian friend. I think the Indian grocery may be your best bet, but maybe check online? I'm sorry I can't be more helpful than this :)

  8. I made this recipe this past weekend and it was delicious! I highly recommend it, and I found saffron at a Indian Market for half the price as Whole Foods had it.

    1. I'm glad you liked it! Haven't made it in a while! :)


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