By Humaira

Happy International Woman's Day. For my husband and I, March 8th is even more meaningful  since we just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. Looking back, it seems that my life has been greatly enriched by having a wonderful partner and  I've found great fulfillment in my activism for Afghan people.

Last month, I spoke about "Afghan Women's 100 Year History" at the San Francisco Writer's Conference. The presentation covers how politics and war caused many of the current issues facing Afghan women. To watch the video, click on the presentation title above.

And now for what you've been waiting for, Saffron Rosewater Rice Pudding, also known as Shohla e Shereen, which means sweet risotto in Dari. This dish is served at parties, holidays and weddings.

Traditionally Afghans use oil or butter but I decided to substitute coconut oil to make the dish vegan. To add more dimension, I've added orange zest to my sister Nabila's recipe. The oils in the orange peel adds a fragrant flavor to the pudding.  

I hope you enjoy the recipe and your comments are always welcome.


Vegan Saffron, Rosewater, Rice Pudding

Sohla e Shereen


1 cup short grain rice, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter

2 teaspoons saffron

3 cups water

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon rosewater

Zest of one large orange, around 1 tablespoon

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Heat coconut oil or butter. Add rice and saffron. Stir for two minutes until the rice is coated in oil and the saffron takes a slightly darker shade. Add sugar, water, rosewater, and orange zest. Stir well. Once the liquid comes to boil, lower heat to simmer and cook with the lids on, around 20 minutes or until the rice is soft and pudding is creamy. Don't cook until the liquid is fully absorbed, the pudding should be ladled into a serving dish. Sprinkle nuts on top of the pudding.

Serve at room temperature, or cook the night before and refrigerate. I prefer it cold.