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Take one half of the 1/4 tsp saffron threads and put them in a spice mortar. Grind the spice with a pestle to a powdery consistency.Add a second pinch of saffron threads to the mortar. Do not crush these threads.
Pour 1/4 cup of hot water into the mortar. Let the saffron soak for 5 minutes. This will open up the flavor of the spice.
Meanwhile, sort your basmati rice and rinse in a colander. Drain.In a large heavy pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium. Add the minced onion to the pot and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring very frequently, until the onion is very soft and begins to caramelize.
Add rinsed rice to the pot and sauté for one minute longer, mixing the rice together with the cooked onion.
Pour the yellow saffron liquid evenly across the top of the rice.
Add chicken or vegetable stock and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, stir. Bring back to a boil for 30 seconds.
Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Let the rice cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, but keep pot covered, and continue to let the rice sit and steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes longer.
Fluff the rice with a fork before serving, stirring well to break up the rice and incorporate the cooked onion.