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Prayers to Pudding: Persian Pregnancy with Sholeh Zard

Today, I’m sharing my story of the power of prayers, the sweetness of saffron rice pudding, and unpredictable cravings of a pregnant mum-to-be over 40.

Now, after my six-week scan drama, H’s family were determined to ensure a healthy and viable pregnancy, armed with daily prayers and … sholeh zard (saffron rice pudding).

Rallying The Troops

So, there I was pregnant and more than a bit nervous, when my in-laws decided to unleash a prayer marathon for my well-being. And what’s a Persian family without a touch of culinary commitment? They rallied the troops, and by troops, I mean the entire family, to whip up a colossal batch of sholeh zard for the neighbours because, you know, nothing says “we care about you, and everyone else in the street” like a massive bowl of saffron-infused rice pudding.

Annual Tradition

Now, here’s an interesting fact. If our little bundle of joy turned out healthy (spoiler alert: he did, and his name is Little C), the family pledged to make sholeh zard an annual tradition – and they have.

In Persia, making pledges like this is as common as finding saffron in a Persian kitchen. It’s a beautiful reminder of the miracle of life and the importance of community support. Plus, who wouldn’t want an excuse to whip up a batch of saffron rice pudding?

The Recipe

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the recipe. I can practically hear your stomachs growling from here. So, grab your aprons, and let’s try this recipe out.


  • 1 cup of Jasmine rice
  • 1 and a half cups of sugar
  • 2 tablesppons of rosewater
  • Pinch of saffron – brewed
  • Unsalted butter


  1. Start by washing the rice – a cleanse for a fresh beginning. Boil it in water until it’s soft. Stir occasionally, and watch out for any rice rebellion (boiling over).
  2. Once the rice is soft, sprinkle in the sugar, rosewater, and saffron. Let it simmer with the sugar.
  3. Reduce the heat, melt in the butter, and give it a gentle stir. Cover and let it simmer for three minutes, giving you just enough time to practice your Persian dance moves.
  4. Dish it up into serving bowls. Then, let your creative side run wild – adorn it with powdered cinnamon, almond and pistachio slivers, and rose petals.

And Voila!

You’ve just created a bowl of good old-fashioned sholeh zard, fit for a Persian feast. Whether you’re pregnant, or just in the mood for something sweet on Yalda Night, this dish is bound to win hearts faster than you can say “khoda hafez”! (goodbye)


Saffron and Cyrus is a Newcastle-based family lifestyle blog, covering health, wellness, days out, travel, reviews, recipes and more from our family life.
The blog is written by new mum over 40, Aranda, with input from hubby H and son, Little C.

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