Since the day I saw Meeta's Panna Cotta, I have been waiting for a chance to try it. And it happened yesterday! Actually I wanted to make panna-cotta for dessert on Saturday with my root vegetable au gratin, but didn't have enough time. Ok, I have never tried panna cotta before, but I have to say what I made have set really high expectations for me when I get to have it at a restaurant next time. It was a simple dish, hardly took about 20 minutes to make, and full of creamy goodness! I think the best way to use saffron and cardamom in a dish is to have them complement each other, but not have one flavor dominate the dish. Cardamom gives a nice aroma to anything you add it to, and well, saffron is more for the color and the taste. They came together perfectly in this panna cotta.
As a vegetarian, I substituted gelatin with agar and used cream, sugar, saffron and cardamom. Thats it! Just 5 ingredients in this delicious recipe. Well, I also used pistachios for garnish. So here's how I made it - boiled cream with sugar, added strands of crushed saffron and about 6 pods of cardamom in it, turned off the heat and let it steep for a few minutes. In the meantime, I soaked about 1 tsp of agar in a couple of tbsp of cream. After about 10 minutes, I turned on the heat again, and constantly whisking the cream, added the agar mixture. In about 3-4 minutes, the consistency changes and then I moved it over an ice bath, whisked for a few more minutes and poured it in individual serving dishes. They were covered and let set in the fridge for a few hours. And before indulging, I added some chopped pistachios. Yummy :)