Saffron Rosemary Fried Rice Recipe

A savory saffron rosemary fried rice with napa cabbage, red bell pepper, Shanghai bok choy, red onion, and succulent oyster mushrooms, topped with scallions and black sesame seeds.

Hot damn you guys, this dish blew my mind and made my taste buds sing! The saffron and rosemary were an exquisite flavor profile and a great fusion twist on a traditional fried rice. Growing up in a Chinese-American household, fried rice was a family staple.

saffron fried rice 2

I decided to get a bit creative with it and threw in some spices we didn’t have around the house when I was a kid. Let me tell you, I moaned like a baby water buffalo tasting water after a drought with the first bite of this dish. This fusion-inspired fried rice really is the best of both worlds!


1 ½ cup of rice (I used brown rice)
10 napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
10 heads of bok choy, roughly chopped (I used Shanghai bok choy)
12-15 oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced (I used red onion)
6-7 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4-5 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1 ½ tbsp saffron powder
3 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 scallions for garnish, finely chopped
Sesame seeds for garnish (I used black sesame seeds)
Salt and pepper to taste

One thing I’d like to emphasize is that I rarely ever cook by recipe. I love love love to cook based on instinct or “cooking by feel” as I call it. I encourage you to also experiment with this once you’ve got the fundamentals of cooking down.

saffron fried rice prep 2.jpg
Remember to eat your colors, friends!

When I do use a recipe as a cooking reference, I almost always alter the ingredients, whether that’s adjusting quantities of the ingredients or substitutions and additions of different ingredients that I enjoy more. The same can be done with any of the recipes I post!

I personally tend to pump up the garlic and spices in most recipes. If you’re not feeling a particular ingredient, feel free to change it or leave it out altogether! Your kitchen is your space to get as creative as you want.

What kind of recipe adjustments do you like to make?

Cook rice according to package instructions. Set rice aside after cooking. Remember to alter the amount of water you use depending on what kind of rice. Brown and wild rice typically take more water than white rice.  For this dish I used Shanghai bok choy – repping my family heritage with the Shanghai species, but any variation will do!

saffron fried rice cooking 2.jpeg

Heat large sauté pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sesame oil. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add napa cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bok choy and cook for 3 minutes. Add oyster mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add red bell pepper and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. At this point, cooking the veggies will have created some moisture and liquid. If it’s looking a bit dry, add 1-2 tbsp of water and then stir in the saffron powder. Sauté until powder is evenly distributed, about 1 minute.

Mix in rice to the veggies and stir for 2-3 minutes. Option to drizzle some extra sesame oil here. (I chose not to do this for a more health conscious meal.) Season to taste and take off heat.

Serve topped with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. So tasty! The garnish as always is optional, however, I feel that it adds a whole other dimension to the flavor profile. Plus it makes for impeccable presentation that my inner artist simply cannot resist!

saffron fried rice 1

Health Benefits

Napa Cabbage – Napa is a fantastic source of potassium, folate, manganese, vitamin B1, and dietary fiber. It also contains phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, protein and niacin. A rich source of antioxidants, napa can help reduce risk of certain cancers and reduce levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.

SaffronSaffron is a spice that contains high levels of manganese and can help promote mental health, eye health, support respiratory health, balance the hormone system, and optimal cell function.  

RosemaryRosemary contains antioxidant and anti inflammatory compounds. It is associated with improving digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, and preventing neurological aging.

Oyster Mushrooms – Oyster mushrooms contain good amounts fiber and iron. Niacin found in oyster mushrooms helps to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Mushrooms are one of the few plant sources of vitamin D which is essential in calcium absorption and can help to lower blood pressure. Oyster mushrooms also function as antioxidants which help reduce inflammation.

Bok Choy – Bok Choy is a cruciferous vegetable that is a fantastic source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fiber. It also contains folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, and calcium. Antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds found in bok choy may reduce the risk of cancer.

Bell Pepper – Bell peppers have a high amount of vitamin C, potassium, and carotenoids, and can help improve heart and eye health.

Scallions – Scallions have calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K. Folic acid, a B vitamin found in scallions, helps the body make new cells. They can also help boost the immune system.

Garlic – Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. It has incredible medicinal properties including combating illness, reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol, and promoting longevity of life.

Onion – Onions includes high levels of sulfuric compounds, which stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory processes to promote healing. It also has folate, vitamin C, and fiber and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Sesame Seeds – Sesame seeds are packed with copper, magnesium, and calcium and are a good source of fiber and protein.

Happy eating folks! And remember, food is art.

“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates


If you liked this recipe, share with a friend! How did this recipe work out for you?

2 thoughts on “Saffron Rosemary Fried Rice Recipe

Leave a Reply