What do you do with Cardamom?

Cardamom Ground cardamomo molido

I have not one, but two containers of this little used spice.  The only thing that ever comes to mind when I think of cardamom is Swedish cardamom bread.  I used to smell that delicious bread baking from a mile away in Andersonville, the Swedish neighborhood of Chicago.  However I didn’t really want to make that, and I did have three overripe bananas on hand, so the brainstorming began!  My first thought was to just add cardamom to my regular banana bread recipe, but as I got to looking into cardamom I learned that it is one of the key ingredients in Chai tea.  So from a bunch of different chai recipes I extrapolated this grouping of spices to add to my banana bread:






What you don’t have allspice?!?!?  It’s ok, I didn’t either.  Luckily you can make your own, just mix equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves 🙂


So I took my favorite banana bread recipe that I my Dad used to make and added those spices and voilà, Chai Banana Bread was born!  I have to say it was quite tasty, in fact in might become the new default banana bread in our house.

Chai Banana Bread

banana bread

ingredients (it looks long, but it’s mainly just spices):

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg (optional*)

2-3 mashed overripe bananas

3 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.  In another bowl combine the butter and sugar.  Add the egg (if using*) and the mashed bananas and continue to mix together until they are a smooth consistency.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry mix in three parts, adding a tablespoon of the milk each time.  Every time I get impatient and dump it all in at once, it’s much harder to mix and I usually make a floury mess.  Save yourself the time and just add the wet mix in three parts!

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 for about an hour.  I usually take it out after 45-50 minutes because I like it slightly undercooked!

SO that’s vanilla, ginger, cinnamon (again!), cardamom, cloves and nutmeg all off the list!!  I think I’ll have to cook up something savory next!

all the spices

* I say it’s optional because I never use it and it always turns out great in my opinion.  But it was in my Dad’s original recipe so I figured I better include it 🙂  Here’s the original recipe from a cookbook my Dad made me when I first moved out so I could always have, “a taste of the little grey house”.



5 thoughts on “What do you do with Cardamom?

  1. Cardamom can be used in a lot of curries too. It’s essentially just a fragrant pod. In India, people often chew whole cardamom pods as a quick breath freshener!

  2. Bananas and cardamom sound like they could be a great combination btw.
    Looks very nice

  3. I was reading that cardamom could be used in curries as well, maybe I will get through those two jars without a problem! I am actually headed to India this month, so maybe I can experience those curries first hand 🙂

  4. Ooh, cardamom is used in Chai too! You’ll be having lots of that if you’re going to India; it’s everywhere. Enjoy!

  5. I can’t wait! I am hoping to bring some spices back, but at the very least drink my fill of chai 🙂

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