Rice pilafs (pulaos) in India are generally served with the whole spices used in cooking. The spices not only make for an appealing presentation but also continue to flavor the rice. The spices are not eaten but are simply pushed aside when the rice is eaten.
Pay extra attention when roasting cashews and raisins because they turn light brown almost instantly in hot oil.
Store saffron threads in their original airtight container in a cool, dry area.
Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower (crocus sativa), a delicate purple blossom. About 5,000 flowers must be handpicked to produce a single ounce of saffron. A little saffron goes a long way—a few threads will permeate the entire dish with a pungent aroma and rich yellow hue.