I am loving the cardamom caramelly goodness of this Persian egg pudding.
My mom learned how to make this Persian egg pudding before she was married, and she’s made it for dessert in our home for as long as I can remember. But it was only recently that I actually started EATING it.
Yeah, so you remember my mutant sense of smell (from my Vegan Mango Milkshake post)? Well, when I was younger, I couldn’t handle cardamom. Since cardamom is such a key flavor in Persian egg pudding, I would literally just smell it coming out of the oven and not even bother to taste it.
Yeah, I was crazy.
Now that my
powers senses are more under my control, I have found that I absolutely freaking love cardamom. I love it so much, I put it in anything I can get away with. To date, I’ve used it in three of the recipes on this site (Best Loose Leaf Chai Tea, Green Tea Metabolism Booster, Besan ki Mithai), four if you count the black cardamom I used in my Authentic Chicken Curry with Desi Chicken post.
But what I want to highlight about this Persian egg pudding is not the cardamom (which tastes awesome) but rather just how easy it is to make. So easy, in fact, that “Beau,” my seven-year-old can prepare it.
Everyone that knows Beau also knows that he loves to cook. He was just a little over a year old when he ran into the kitchen and picked up the heavy wooden mortar and pestle (hawan dasta in urdu) and pretended to make ginger garlic paste with it. We laughed then and thought it was a one-time thing. But Beau’s fascination with cooking only grew.
When he was a year and a half, he would spend most of the day on my kitchen floor, playing with my pots and spatulas. I would have to negotiate a trade with him if I ever needed to use the one he was playing with. He was obsessed with watching recipe videos on youtube. While other children were demanding to see cartoons, Beau loved watching the recipe for Aloo Gosht.
By the time Beau was four, he knew more spices and cooking terminology than I knew when I was 20. By age five it was impossible to keep him out of the kitchen. He wanted to observe all he could (and “help” however he could while my back was turned.) Beau’s cooking instincts were always freakishly accurate (Mashallah, may Allah place Barakah in it, Ameen). I’ve honestly lost track of the number of times Beau’s suggestions or insistence that I check on a dish has resulted in saving dinner from being spoiled or burned. It was then that my husband and I began to realize that this was not a “quirk” but a gift from Allah (SWT).
But unfortunately, Beau’s passion is not universally appreciated.
There are very few people who see Beau’s love for all things culinary and encourage it. Some observe his cooking with amusement, others comment on it with sarcasm, and there are even a few people who can barely hide their disgust for it.
I didn’t understand at first. In the United States, chefs are treated with the kind of dignity and respect you would give to any professional such as a doctor or an engineer. The reason being that we understand just how much education and training are required to become a chef.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in Pakistan. Here, chefs are looked at as doing “women’s work” or “servant’s work.” It’s not about the pay: chefs at high level restaurants and hotels are paid well here in Pakistan just as they are in the US, but that pay means very little if people don’t respect you. In the higher gentry and upper class, perhaps there is more of an understanding (I wouldn’t really know) but as far as middle class society is concerned, if you’re a chef, you’ve thrown away your education.
It hurts my heart to see people negatively react to the very thing that makes my little boy’s eyes light up with happiness. I have had to teach him to be careful who he talks about his cooking to, because there are some people who will try to discourage him.
“Your dreams are fragile and precious, be careful whose hands you place them in,” I explained. This was a lesson I wish I didn’t have to teach, especially at such a young age.
Your dreams are fragile and precious, be careful whose hands you place them in.Click To Tweet
My husband and I are not pushing Beau to be a chef. We just believe that if a child shows a deep and engaged interest in something, we should encourage and nurture that interest. As long as what Beau is doing is halal and within the boundaries of Islam, he should be free to explore his passions. He might decide to become a chef. He might decide to do something else and cook as a hobby. Or, he might even decide one day that he doesn’t like cooking anymore and wants nothing to do with it. All of this is okay.
As Muslim parents, we need to encourage our children to have halal passions and interests and explore them. As they develop new skills or knowledge within those fields, we should encourage them to find ways to use that knowledge or skill to benefit the Ummah. This is what brings everything full circle and turns all of that effort and time invested into ibadah.
My sweet Beau, I pray that Allah gives you the opportunity to do excellent work for the benefit of this Ummah, in whatever field that may be. And may Allah accept from you, ameen.
Making Persian Egg Pudding (with kids!)
“Kit,” (my four-year-old) was (blessedly) asleep when we made this Persian egg pudding, so I can’t tell you what it’s like to do this with two children. (Then again, if Kit was in the kitchen, the only thing we’d be able to make is a mess, so it’s probably for the best that he was napping at the time.) Because Beau is a new chef and can’t work as fast, we altered the order of the process a bit to make it easier for him to make. I’ll discuss the altered process here, but put everything in the correct order in the recipe card below.
Mom and I started off by teaching Beau how to bruise the cardamom then crack it open to get the seeds out. The seeds were put in a small mortar and pestle which he then ground to a fine powder. He then put the cardamom powder in a 7″ diameter round baking dish (you do not need to grease the dish).
Next, we helped him crack four eggs into a bowl and told him to beat them with a whisk until the eggs were homogenous and frothy. This was set aside for later. (Note: If your child is new to cracking eggs, it helps to have them crack the egg in a smaller bowl which you can check for shell pieces before you add it to the larger bowl. This is much easier than having to fish bits of shell out of a bowl with four eggs!)
He poured 250ml milk (1 cup) into a measuring cup which we then poured into a saucepan and placed on low heat until it became hot but not boiling. While the milk was heating, we helped him open up a can of condensed milk. We poured the hot milk into the baking dish, then he poured the condensed milk into the dish and stirred it until it was mixed together (the heat from the milk helps in incorporating the condensed milk). He then added the beaten eggs and stirred that together. We checked to make sure it was mixed, then wiped the edge of the dish clean so that it wouldn’t burn. Then we took over in putting the dish in the oven and he set the timer.
Persian egg pudding takes about 30 minutes in the oven, but bake time can vary based on where you live. To check if it’s done, insert a knife through the center. It should come out clean.
I love learning recipes from my mom, but it was really special to watch my mother pass this recipe down to her grandson.
Here’s to keeping traditions, and breaking molds.
Persian Egg Pudding
This Persian egg pudding uses cardamom for a distinctly Eastern flavor. Try it at your next potluck—it’s so easy to make, my seven-year-old can do it!
- 4 green cardamom or 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 250 ml milk (1 cup)
- 390 g condensed milk (1 can)
- 4 eggs (beaten)
Preheat oven to 150°C (302°F).
Open the cardamom pods and finely grind the seeds (about 1/4 tsp cardamom powder).
Heat the milk until it is hot but not boiling.
Pour hot milk into 7" diameter round baking dish.
Add the cardamom powder and condensed milk and mix together until well incorporated, taking care to keep the sides of the dish clean.
Beat the eggs until homogenous and fluffy. Add into the dish and mix well. Wipe off the sides of the dish if necessary
Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.