Saffron Aioli Recipe
Updated: May 18
Saffron is a staple of Afghan cuisine, particular in my father's province of Herat. Saffron from Afghanistan has been rated the highest quality of Saffron worldwide, and is a source of pride both in cuisine and in exports.
At home, we utilize saffron frequently, in our daily tea, in rice, and many other dishes. Creating a fusion of my Afghan and American backgrounds, I've developed an aioli that can add the depth of flavor and richness of saffron on to sandwiches and as a side dip for many meals. Try it on Afghan Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken, or if you're taking baby steps in cooking, as a twist to home cooked shrimp.
If you're unsure of where to buy saffron, your local international grocery stores often carry it. In particular, these Afghan grocery stores are sure to carry it as well. Remember, a little bit goes a long way so don't be deterred by the price tag as only a small amount is required to enjoy its depth of flavor.
Saffron Aioli recipe
Pinch of Saffron (about 1/8 of a tsp of crushed threads)
2 tbsp hot water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 finely minced garlic clove
½ tsp salt
½ cup mayonnaise**
1 tbsp olive oil
Place saffron threads in hot water and let steep for 10 minutes (the color of saffron will not come out properly if your water is not hot)
In a blender*, place remaining ingredients with saffron water. Puree ingredients until it is a smooth texture with all ingredients mixed in well.
Serve the saffron aioli cold. Noshejaan!
* Since this is a small amount, you can also use the single cup attachments of your blender that are often used for smoothies, those similar to a Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet.
** In place of mayonnaise, this recipe can be made with raw egg yolk. However, as a family friendly iteration to avoid the possible effects of consuming raw eggs for pregnant women and children, I prefer to utilize mayonnaise.