Saffron is a beautiful and aromatic spice that is popular in Persian, Indian, Turkish and European cuisines. The taste is unique, a bit sweet, and the color of the saffron infuses itself into whatever dish you are making. In Spanish paella, for instance, the beautiful orange color you see is created with saffron. Saffron grows from a special type of iris flower, also known as “crocus sativus.” It takes 75,000 flowers to harvest only .45 kg (1 pound) of saffron! Hence it is a very prized spice.
Saffron was one of the first spices I introduced to my daughter. She loved it. This recipe is so flavorful and eye-catching to a little one’s eyes. The flavor is also sweet and mild, making it a great introductory spice for baby.
ServingsMakes about 473 ml (2 cups)
2-3 strands Spanish saffron
630 grams (2 cups) frozen mango chunks or 2 fresh mangoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
30 ml (1 ounce) water, breast milk or organic whole milk
1. Soak saffron strands in a few tablespoons of warm water. This will allow the saffron to release its flavor and color. Mash threads lightly with back of spoon until color begins to come out.
2. Place mangoes, saffron mixture and water or milk in a blender or mini food processor. Blend to create a smooth purée. Add more liquid by the spoonful, if necessary, to thin out mixture. Serve at room temperature.
A former lawyer, after her daughter refused to eat anything bland as a baby, Leena was inspired to make baby food better by using spices and diverse global ingredients. Nurturing tiny taste buds became an obsession that led to a blog www.masalababyfood.com and a baby food cookbook Around the World in 80 Purees: Easy Recipes for Global Baby Food (Quirk Books). Leena lives in New Jersey with her husband, and two “masala babies.”