Cardamon is one of my favourite spices to use in Persian cooking in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is actually the third most expensive spice by weight in the world behind Vanilla and Saffron and as per these two it is absolutely divine.
I always keep a jar of both ground cardamon and cardamon pods in my pantry as they have such different uses. I do prefer to grind my own cardamon as it’s a lot fresher and I tend to find the ground cardamon you buy in the supermarkets loses a lot of its flavour as soon as opened. The flavour actually evaporates once the pods are ground and the process lowers the flavour and the value of these little seeds. If a recipe asks for 1.5 teaspoons of ground cardamon I would recommend using around 10 pods.
If, like me, you decide to mill your own, make sure you remove the husks first! So many people I know grind the whole lot and the husk has less flavour and has a nasty chewy texture, some people use it like chewing gum, although goodness knows why! It’s the glorious little black seeds inside the husks that you want so forget the rest! It’s also quite therapeutic de-shelling them!
Green cardamon has a slightly resinous and aromatic flavour and I find is best used in sweet dishes than black cardamon. Black cardamon is great to use if you want to add a touch of smokiness and a coolness similar to mint to a dish.
These little traditional Persian Yazdi Cupcakes use green cardamon and are one of my favourites to make. They are quite technical but are worth the effort. I sometimes ice them with a pistachio buttercream which make them look and taste even more beautiful but this time I left them plain with a simple scattering of pistachios and rose petals on the raw batter. If you do make them I hope you love them as much as I do. Nooshe Jaan!
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1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp rose-water
4 eggs separated
1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamon
2 cups plain flour
Pre-heat the oven to 160’c (fan oven) and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers. (makes around 30)
Mix together the oil, sugar, lime and rose-water and slowly add the egg yolks one at a time to the mixture then add the yoghurt and mix until creamy.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add to the wet mixture. Mix for a minute but do not over mix as will make them chewy and not light.
Mix the egg whites until stiff peaks form then gently fold into the cake mixture.
Spoon into the muffin tins leaving 1cm between the top of the batter and the top of the cupcake wrapper.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I added a few ground pistachios and rose petals to the batter before baking.
Cool on a wire rack and try not to eat them all at once! 🙂