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Yayma – Saffron rice pudding

Yayma - Saffron rice pudding
Saffron lends this Azerbaijani rice pudding a beautiful colour and aroma.

A traditional yayma is made with rice, milk, water and saffron and served with cinnamon, butter and honey. If you have a sweet tooth, you may prefer to add sugar to the rice pudding during cooking. News.Az is grateful to Gullu Cahangir for allowing us to use her yayma recipe, taken from her informative website Azerifood.com.

Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 25 min
Serves: 4


  • 200 g/8 oz shortgrained or pudding rice
  • 1 litre/ 35 imperial fl oz milk
  • 250 ml/1 glass water
  • 150 g/6 oz granulated sugar (optional)
  • a few threads of saffron
  • pinch of salt
  • honey
  • butter
  • cinnamon


  • Put the threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
  • Wash the rice.
  • Pour the water into a saucepan and heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, add the rice and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring the rice for around 5 minutes until all the water has either evaporated or been absorbed and the rice is half-cooked.
  • Add the milk to the rice and when the milk comes to the boil, add the saffron infusion.
  • Stir well and turn the heat down to medium under the pan. If you are making a sweet yayma, add the sugar now and mix in well.
  • Partially cover the saucepan with a lid (don’t cover it completely or the milk will boil over).
  • Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the yayma doesn’t burn at the bottom.
  • If you like your rice puddings to be milky, remove the yayma from the heat before all the milk has evaporated or been absorbed. Otherwise, cook for another 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Serve the yayma in a bowl with pieces of butter and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Serve with honey and/or sugar.

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