Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins – Persianized!

Awhile ago, I was invited to a potluck. My game plan was to make a bottle of sharbat and a batch of shamiSharbat, I’ve introduced to you before, and shami is a minced beef & chickpea-flour fried-patty concoction (there are other variations as well) that I’ve been in the habit of eating infrequently here and there – with bread and yogurt and pleasure – but had never heretofore rolled up my own billowing, soozan-doozi adorned sleeves to make myself.

I’d dug up an easy-to-follow recipe and shami itself is quite simple (borderline plain) in semblance, so really, how hard could it be to make? Answer: very hard! At least for moi. A series of gaffes and oopses and faux pas led to a certifiable and somewhat excruciating disaster. In retrospect and in hindsight and in my defense, the recipe was somewhat wonky and I should have looked up Turmeric & Saffron’s recipe or asked for my mother’s instead. This line of rationalization though reminds me of a very awesome Ziggy cartoon when he goes to the “Complaints” window of a department store and says: “I’m too short.” Ha ha! It also puts me in mind of an Iranian proverb (zarb ol massal) which goes: “The bride can not dance and claims the room is crooked!”  (Aroos nemitooneh beraghseh migeh otag kajeh.) Used when one blames circumstances for what is inherently one’s own fault or shortcoming. OK, OK! I admit it! I am a horrible and deeply flawed shami-maker! Are you happy now?

Seriously — who knew it was so hard to make the shami patties look so perfectly round and composed?

In my hands (too much grated onions were among my other sins so the patties were too loose) instead of turning out as good, solid, well-rounded citizens, the shami patties were coming out lopsided and crooked and entirely strange — looking much like the type of person you avoid sitting next to on the subway. There was no way I was going to show up to a foodie potluck with a plate-full of these creatures.

So as a last-minute panicked plan B, I rushed to make a batch or two of the banana nut chocolate chip muffins that had turned out quite nicely when I’d made some for the half-birthday of a special quelqu’un. I also decided to Persianize the recipe so as to make it a more special and personal offering. That is to say, I added a touch of pistachios, saffron,rosewater, and the teeniest hint of cardamom to the mix; topped with crumbled dried rose petals for a pretty flourish. The original Evelyn’s Coffee Bar / Epicuruios / Bon Appetit recipe for the muffins is a very good one — it’s a keeper, I love it and heartily recommend it — and fortunately, the recipe withstood my glamming up efforts and took well to its Persianization! I was a tad bit apprehensive about mixing milk and mashed bananas and chocolate chip bits with rosewater and cardamom, but ultimately, the Persianizing ingredients were used sparingly enough to just give the entire thing that je ne said quoi air of being Persian without interfering with the natural goodness of these moist, delicious and cake-like muffins.



Gotta love these muffins! They are delicious comfort food and in pinch, when shami shames you, they let you save face!





Since I made truly minor revisions, I direct you to Epicurious for the original banana nut chocolate chip muffin recipe. To Persianize the recipe, however, you will need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • handful of coarsely ground pistachios + some to sprinkle on muffins
  • a pinch of saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater (or a bit less)
  • handful of dried rose petals, gently crumbled between palms

And you should do these:

  1. Add ground cardamom and a handful of coarsely ground pistachios to the dry mixture of sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add rosewater and dissolved saffron to the moist mixture of mashed bananas, egg, melted butter and milk.
  3. Halfway through the baking process, top each muffin with a sprinkling of ground pistachios.
  4. Once muffins have cooled off on the rack, sprinkle with crushed rose petals.

Note: The baking time for me is around 15-17 minutes and not 30 minutes as indicated in the recipe. Perhaps this is because I preheated for more than half an hour and used a mini muffin pan, but Just to be safe, I recommend you keep a watchful eye when baking a batch the first time around to figure out your optimum baking time.



Noosh jan Nush e jaan Persian calligraphy illustration

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Comments (31)

  • apuginthekitchen 6 years ago Reply

    The Shami sound really delicious and I share your frustration when things just don’t turn out as you hoped. It’s happened to moi many many times. But the muffins were delicious, perfectly moist, the saffron, cardamom and chocolate were beautiful together. Totally loved your fusion muffins.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Fusion muffin!! Love it. The perfect term! I may steal that Suzanne!
    And I’m relieved to hear the cooking plans gone awry happens to even a cook as accomplished as you.
    Also, thank you for your lovely testimonial. 🙂

    apuginthekitchen 6 years ago

    Of course you can its yours to do with whatever you want!

  • rabirius 6 years ago Reply

    They must be delicious!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    You know rabirius, they were pretty good, I’ll be immodest and say!

  • Amanda 6 years ago Reply

    This is gorgeous. The combination of ingredients sounds divine.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    The combination of the Persianizing ingredients (cardamom, saffron, rosewater, pistachio) is a classic ancient combo trademark of Iranian cuisine – and surprisingly (nicely so) it seems to adapt well in “fusion” (my new favorite word!) with the Western cuisine.
    thank you for visiting Amanda!

  • chagrinnamontoast 6 years ago Reply

    I love eating food that tastes of fruit and flower gardens. This looks beautiful.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Such a nice way of putting it! 🙂

  • Lizzy (Good Things) 6 years ago Reply

    Azita, I think anything you make is beautiful… always enjoy your posts. Thank you for sharing this.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Aww, now that’s such a nice thing to say! Basking! 🙂

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 6 years ago Reply

    Azita, Only you can make a muffin look so elegant princess-y, arriving with rose petals on its head and at its feet.
    Gholi joon’s shamis look pretty dignified too!
    Yum, Yum, Yum!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Fae, it was a culinary emergency and I had to pull out all the rabbits I could out of the hat and thank God I had the rose petals etc. I didn’t get to taste those shamis that Gholi joon made but I heard tales that they were exceptionally good. Wonder if you’ve ever made shami?

    Fae's Twist & Tango 6 years ago

    I have never made shami, have you? But after seeing Gholi joon’s, I like to. N. Badmanglij’s cookbook has 2 recipes, for nokhodchi and lappeh. When I get back from my trip leaving Mon~ mid-October, I shall give it a try with some twist if necessary. Meanwhile, if you post it, I learn from you! 😀 )))

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago

    Oh will miss you while you’re away! safar beh khair

  • The Novice Gardener 6 years ago Reply

    So the shami shambles resulted in those beautiful romantic Persianized sweet treats? I’d say you had a pretty good day in the kitchen. I want rose petals on everything! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Shami shambles! A new phrase to love! Cool way of putting it and yup, I swear that’s how it all turned out. A big reason it turned out well is that I do think that recipe is quite solid and reliable and it’s so easy as well. I fully recommend it.

  • johnnysenough hepburn 6 years ago Reply

    Your muffins look superb. Can’t seem to get mine to rise equally or to get them all the same size. Anyway, with bananas I’m sure those extra flavours, used sparingly, would work an absolute treat.
    – Loving this particular line: had never heretofore rolled up my own billowing…

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Johnny, give the original recipe a try, I think you’ll like it, and I’m a super novice baker and yet it works for me – reliably so for a few times now. And thank you, I’m so glad you liked that line. Love that!

  • What a lovely idea to add cardamom and rosewater! I must try this, as I make banana muffins/bread so often that I get a bit tired of them.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Do do do try it! Just make sure not to use too much rosewater as it can overpower that way. Excited for you to try this sometime. xo

  • tinywhitecottage 6 years ago Reply

    A very lovely addition to a basic banana bread recipe. What a creative touch. Perfect Plan B.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Thank you! It was such a relief when it worked!

  • Gather and Graze 6 years ago Reply

    Sooo pretty with the dried rose petals on top! Fabulous combination of exotic flavours and spices. M 🙂

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Thank you! 🙂 The dried rose petals are a nice touch, I will say so myself, but only because I did not come up with the idea of using those and they’ve been used traditionally to garnish Iranian food throughout the ages.

  • Francesca 6 years ago Reply

    If your Plan B looks like that, I would love to take a look at your Plan C! 🙂
    When I saw the picture, I thought it was a professional treat for a Persian princess wedding. The presentation is outrageously gorgeous. It is almost unfair! 😉
    Judging from the picture, your muffins must taste great especially because of the Persianization ingredients.

  • helene dsouza 6 years ago Reply

    How did I miss those pretty Persian style muffins in my life? Glad that after all it turned out fine for you. =) Need to try your recipe some time soon. Cheers!

  • Jas@AbsolutelyJas 6 years ago Reply

    I Persianize most desserts and I’m not Persian – I just love the combination of flavours, it gives even the simplest of recipes sophistication and just something else! Your muffins look delicious!

  • Sophie33 6 years ago Reply

    I made your divine muffins & loved them so much! Yum Yum Yum,…it was!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    So glad to hear this! Hope you took pix! Nooshe jaan! 🙂

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