Saffron

 Saffron Key facts Saffron is the world's most expensive spice by weight, native to southwestern Asia. Its name derives from the Arabic word zafaran, which, in turn, comes from the word asfar which means yellow.

This is made from the dried stamens of a variety of purple crocus. It is therefore expensive, but the good news is you need only very little – the flavour is powerful and so is the colour.

You can buy it ready ground, but I find it best to buy the stamens whole and then pound them to a powder with a pestle and mortar. It can then be mixed with a little water before adding to a recipe, or the powder can be added directly.

If, like me, you worry that your paella doesn't look quite as colourful as the one you had in Spain, fear not: you don't need more saffron – in Spain they sometimes cheat and add food colouring!

 
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