Avecinna had graced. My footsteps seemed to take me back into a hypnotic dream; my eyes limited my experience in space and time. My heart felt the pulse of a thousand centuries with an ambrosia of rosewater and night jasmine. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of Iranian hospitality and spirit. The harsh reality of oppression seemed like a nightmare that could not possibly be true; but each time I woke up, it was a daunting reality.
Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, Kermansha, Abee-yaneh, and Yazd were a few cities I explored in Iran. The history and culture of each bewildered my imagination to the greatness of these robust and ancient cities. Of course, I can write a book about my travels and experiences. For our Savorychic's readers, I would like to share with you a glimpse into my personal journey to the ancient land of Yazd.
While in Tehran with one of my very good friends from San Diego, Nazanin (who introduced me to one of my favorite coffee roasters in La Jolla), we spontaneously planned a short visit to Yazd.
ice wells' called yakh-chall.
Jameh Mosque in Yazd; which displayed ceramic tiles encompassing symbols of the swastika (sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism), in Arabic the words Allah and Ali, and also the Star of Soloman (symbol more commonly associated with the Star of David for people of the Jewish faith). All three symbols under the roof of one mosque in central Iran? Yes, it is possible in Yazd! Their truth of accepting different faiths and beliefs under one roof reinforced my truth of Mojdah's spirit whose heart is open to accepting and exploring all cultures, practices and faiths.
Together, Mojdeh and I have braved many of our adventurous travels, culinary finds, and non-conformist beliefs. I owe her much gratitude for sharing her spirit which is boundlessly unique and infinitely accepting of all things possible. Thanks to Mojdah, I have learned how to be a better friend. Therefore, as we celebrate her 50th Birthday this month, I wanted to dedicate this special post to her. My gratitude to her for expanding my world with more color, meaning, and enthusiasm. May she celebrate 50 more years with as much joy, excitement, love and adventure. Thank you Mojdah for being the 'uni' in my life.
Now that you have a little history about my travel and friend, I want to share with you one of my culinary finds which will transport you to the magical land of Yazd- which is also well known for it's pastries such as Ghotab and Yazdee cake (I later discovered it is actually a cupcake and not cake), named after this great City.
Cardamom, rosewater, and yogurt make this cupcake a little time machine that will transport your palate to the ancient city of Yazd. As you can imagine, my trip was even more sweet thanks to these pastries! I fell in love with Yazdee cake and wanted to share with you the recipe.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater
1/2 cup sliver almonds crushed
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped/ground raw pistachios
1 teaspoon of sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
1. Butter cupcake pan generously (about 24 slots)
2. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. In a double broiler or heatproof large bowl set on top of a pan of simmering water, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until batter appears light yellow (approximately 7-9 minutes). Remove from heat and continue to beat a couple of minutes longer until mix is not as hot. Mix in yogurt, oil, cardamom and rosewater. Add half a cup at a time flour mix until just well blended. Do not over beat. With a large spoon or spatula, fold in almonds
4. Spoon batter in cupcake slots until 3/4 of the way full
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden
6. Remove cupcakes from oven and while still hot, use back end of a spoon to dip into dissolved sugar water and lace the top middle of the cupcake with syrup. Then sprinkle wet syrup area with pistachios