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suggestions for cardamom?

Cardamom is my favorite spice, but no recipes (that I can think of off the top of my head, anyway) highlight it-- rather, they always mask its flavors with other spices.

Does anyone have recipes that truly highlight cardamom (both green and black)?

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  1. Use it in ice cream or custards. If you have ground, whisk it in with the eggs and sugar; if you have seeds, steep them in the milk/cream. I also really like cardamom in carrot cake.

    2 Replies
    1. re: babette feasts

      The carrot cake I've made for some friends' wedding cakes substitutes ground cardamom for the cinnamon and clove, chopped pistachios for any other nuts, and chopped candied ginger for raisins. And I make a white chocolate-cream cheese buttercream and add a couple of tablespoons of rose water. Do this to your favorite carrot cake recipe and you will swoon.

      1. re: babette feasts

        Do you ever roast the whole cardamom before steeping in the milk or cream? (Or better not roasted?) Any fave flavor pairings in ice cream?

      2. Many Swedish sweet breads, most notably St. Lucia buns, are flavoured with cardamom. Great with coffee.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          I had some *years* ago at a Swedish/Norweigian store in Portland, and I hadn't seen it since...I found the addition of cardamom to be rather unusual-- cardamom wasn't something I would've thought was native to Scandinavian countries.

            1. re: PseudoNerd

              I always thought it seemed odd too. But it's also very common in Finnish baking.

          1. Google "Pulla". Its a traditional Finnish coffee bread (not cake, an eggy bread that goes with coffee.)

            Its what I use my cardamom seeds for. Its why I own a mortar and pestle. Its what we take in addition to anything for a potluck, so the organizers can have it for breakfast the next morning...and it makes a mean french toast (if it isn't gone by that first day).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cathy

              Yes, pulla! Pulla french toast is the best. You can also add cardamom to butter cookies. Look in Beatrice Ojakangas's baking books.

              This Cardamom Poppy Seed Cake is good too:

              Cardamom ice cream is nice - try it over plum cobbler.

            2. There's a pilaf dish that I found in an Ismael Merchant cookbook that features whole cardamom pods. It's a simple one with the card. and some peppercorns sizzled in the oil before adding the rice. I also add some chopped onions. It also has some chopped pecans added to the mix. The cardamom flavor comes through here.

              2 Replies
              1. re: oakjoan

                The boxed (Casbah?) nutted rice pilaf has cardamom in it.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  My mom makes something similar from the Australian Women's Weekly cookbook for Indian cooking. It's basmati rice with whole cardamom pods and cumin seeds, pistachios and onions. It's my comfort food.

                2. Just remembered. There's a Charlie Trotter recipe for beef stew with potatoes, celery root and parsnips in which cardamom is the only spice. Very tasty. Can scan and send the script if you post your e-mail address (why, oh, why doesn't this site let us send personal or e-mail messages without eternally exposing ourselves to spammers?) or, if you're willing to wait until my work load lightens, I can post a summary.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: carswell

                    I welcome any and all recipes: PseudoNerDJ@gmail.com

                    1. re: carswell

                      could i ask you to post the recipe on home cooking please!

                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        Will do but probably not until later this week. Will post an pointer here when the recipe is up.

                      2. re: carswell

                        As promised, here's the recipe.


                        - Preheat oven to 350F.
                        - In a roasting pan, combine 1 cup chopped CELERY, 1 cup chopped CARROTS, and 2 cups chopped YELLOW ONIONS. Coat with 2 tablespoons CANOLA OIL. Roast, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
                        - Put 20 crushed green CARDAMOM pods in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string to make a bundle.
                        - Season 1 pound cubed STEWING BEEF with salt and pepper. Add it to the roasting pan with 1 head GARLIC halved crosswise, the cardamom bundle, and 6 cups MEAT STOCK. Cover the pan and bake until the beef is very tender, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the cardamom bundle and garlic. Correct seasoning.

                        ROOT VEGETABLES
                        - About 1 hour before the meat has finished cooking, peel the root vegetables and cut into a large dice; you'll need 2 cups POTATOES, 1 cup CELERY ROOT, and 1 cup PARSNIPS. Put the vegetables in a bowl and coat with 2 tablespoons OLIVE OIL.
                        - Spread on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

                        TO SERVE
                        Mound the roasted root vegetables in the centre of 4 shallow soup bowls. Spoon in the stew. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

                        - Adapted from *Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home*

                      3. Sweet Potato Rolls with Dried Cherries and Cardamom
                        These freeze beautifully, individually wrapped in foil and then pop in a toaster oven or microwave to rewarm when needed. The cardamom flavor is definitely a star here.

                        1. There's a wonderful cardamom coffee cake in the old, original MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK - it makes an enormous cake, and it's loaded with butter and sour cream, so I don't do it very often, but it's really good. (One year I divided a single batch into three medium-sized cakes that I gave as Christmas presents.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Allstonian

                            Yes, that cake is one of my favorites. I substitute the sour cream with yogurt to make it less rich, and often stir blueberries into the batter. Heaven.

                          2. If you can obtain a copy of Ana Sortun's Spice: Flavors of the East Mediterranean there are a couple of recipes that use cardamon. The arabic coffee pot de creme has cardamon and is basically a turkish coffee pot de creme.

                            1. I've made this cake several times since the recipe was published last year...always a big hit. Persian love cake: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                              1. Coffee. I mortar-and-pestle my cardamom pods a little and put the cracked pods in my coffee maker of choice (often, for Turkish coffee, a stove-top ibrik).

                                1. Also, add some to a basic shortbread recipe for a delightful cookie!

                                  1. I tossed some powdered cardamom with hot buttered mixed nuts and it was delicious.

                                    1. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                                      I love this cardamom pea soup. It's very simple, and you can add more cardamom than they call for.

                                      1. I think most of the replies in this thread relate to GREEN cardamom? Could people please specify whether they're using green or black? The two are very different.

                                        1. Always peel off the white or green skin and only crush the little round seeds. The seeds are black .

                                          The powdered cardamom has the peel crushed with it/still in it; therefore its 'watered down' (and that is why its cheaper per ounce).

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Cathy

                                            Was discussing this very question the other day with spice meister extraordinaire Philippe de Vienne (see link below for a recent interview with him). He was incredulous when he learned that I'd been extracting the (green) cardamom from his kickass berbere spice mixture in order to remove the husks before grinding. According to him, the husks contain essential oils that the seeds alone don't provide, and not using them is wasteful. He also pointed out -- with an "oh, so you're one of those people who don't read instructions" look -- that the label on the can says "ready to grind." Guilty as charged. And such is the man's authority, I feel obliged to follow his advice.

                                            Weight for weight, cardomom seeds will, of course, be more costly than cardamom pods, so I'm not sure I see your point there.

                                            By the way, de Vienne also mentioned that the "white" cardamom favoured by Scandinavians is nothing more than green cardamom that has been bleached (the word formaldehyde was uttered; on second thought, I don't recall whether he was talking about historical or current practice). I believe he said the bleaching was originally a way to retard spoilage.


                                            1. re: carswell

                                              My husband and his parents were born in Finland. His parents ran a truck stop restaurant there, with the money from the Juke Box paying the rent. When they came to the US, his father became a Master Chef. They know a bit about food.

                                              They don't crush the pods for baking;the pods are peeled off first (tap it in the mortar with the pestle then it peels off easily) they don't use the powdered stuff because it basically is not 'pure' cardamom, its with the shell included.

                                              I know/agree green and white are the same animal. The pods do not seem to have any sort of oil in them when I have them stacked aside after peeling them and I basically have never considered using them.

                                              The OP was asking diff between green and black, saying they are vastly different and I think they see pods versus seeds and I threw in powder comment.

                                              I kind of don't follow anyones advice except for the first time. Its how I am. Recipes, directions, whatever. I do it their way once and then see if I can make it better or easier for myself.

                                              I have always bought spices in the bulk bin, since they are fresher that way, never saw "directions". I think the SpiceMeister guy is using the cardamom in a differnet way/for different recipes than in a coffee bread/pastry and so the whole pods are acceptable that way.

                                              1. re: Cathy

                                                Having spent a year in Sweden living with Swedish families, I know a bit about the local cooking too. In baking, all the Swedes of my acquaintance use cardamom they purchase already ground. (They also use the whole seeds in preparations like glögg.) None of my Swedish cookbooks in English or Swedish (even Marcus Samuelsson's Aquavit cookbook) specify using anything other than ground cardamom for baking; if someone follows your advice, they'd better reduce the amount of cardamom if they don't want to overpower the dish.

                                                And, anyway, you didn't say to remove the husks when preparing Baltic breads and pastries. You told people *always* to do it. Based on my discussions with Philippe de Vienne, further reading about practices in Nordic and non-Nordic countries and my own experimentation (at present limited to two dishes), I have to conclude the spice meister knows whereof he speaks.

                                                1. re: carswell

                                                  OK one last time.
                                                  I use a mortar and pestle.
                                                  I grind the seeds...into a powder
                                                  I don't grind the pods.
                                                  The pods add nothing and seem to water down the flavor.
                                                  Pure seeds, ground.

                                                  and the family I learned it from is Finnish. Swedes and Finns are kind of mortal enemies. Something about a war.

                                                2. re: Cathy

                                                  My Finnish mother always did it that way too: remove pods, crush with mortar & pestle. She always said to buy the whole pods because it was fresher that way, which made sense to me. I have no idea what Swedes would do (as if we would do things the Swedish way!), although my mother-in-law is Swedish and she thinks my pulla is good.

                                            2. I use cardamom, along with coffee and dried ancho chili powder, as the base for a grill rub. Usually round it out with sea salt maybe some brown sugar, or other spices as the mood hits. Works great on beef and lamb.

                                              Sorry, don't know for sure whether its green or black ... assuming green because I use preground cardamom for the rub, and the jar I have at the moment is a grey-green dry powder, but, to be honest, never paid much attention to the difference before. I will now, though.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: djh

                                                That rub sounds very interesting. Could you share some details on amounts, coffee prep, etc? Thanks.

                                                1. re: Tom Hall

                                                  It changes every time I make it (I'm horrible about following directions, even my own!), but general proportions are about 4:2:1+ (sugar/coffee:salt/chile:spice). So, for example:

                                                  4 TB brown sugar
                                                  4 TB ground coffee (I use Peet's french or italian roast)
                                                  2 TB salt (kosher or sea)
                                                  2 TB ancho chile powder (or other chile powder)
                                                  1-1.5 TB Cardamom (or more to taste)

                                                  If I add in other spices or flavorings its usually at about the same or less proportion as the cardamom (1/2 to 1-1/2 parts) depending on strength of the spice, and whether its fresh or powdered. A little garlic or onion powder, ginger, chicory, mint, black pepper or cayenne (or combination of some of those) works well, too.

                                              2. See Gernot Katzer's site (great resource on spices) for black cardamom:


                                                And green cardamom:


                                                Green is the more commonly used and is sweetish. I think the whole pod can be used, though seeds are more common. Black cardamom has a much stronger flavor, almost medicinal. If you read through the links above, the two aren't even botanically related, and uses are very different.

                                                I looked into the differences between the two after buying a bag of black cardamom, tasting it and realizing I had gotten the wrong kind.

                                                1. Some time ago I posted a recipe for flourless brownies to this site (well before the site was redesigned) from "Chefs of the Times" (the chef was French and worked at Petrossian on W. 57th St. in New York).

                                                  I once experimented and replaced the candied orange peel with candied lemon peel and the tablespoon of cinnamon with a teaspoon of cardamom. It was good but I should have been braver and gone with a full tablespoon of cardamom. The recipe, as I remember it, follows. I haven't tried doing any searches on this site

                                                  Zest 1 or 2 lemons and cut the zest into small bits. Add juice from 1/2 lemon and 1/2 orange and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook over gentle heat until the zest is soft. (I usually go about 20 minutes). Drain. You want about 3 tbsp. zest.

                                                  Prepare pan: Butter an 10 by 15 jelly roll pan (with sides, not flat like a cookie sheet). Line with parchment. Butter parchment and sprinkle with graulated sugar.

                                                  Combine 2 whole eggs and 7 yolks, add 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar and mix. Melt 2 sticks plus 2 tbsp butter; add 11 oz. (I think) chocolate (the recipe calls for 58% cocoa mass, but I've used a variety of potencies). Stir well. Combine with egg mixture. Add 1 tbsp cardamom.

                                                  Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine 9 egg whites and 2 cups confectioner's sugar and beat on high speed until very stiff. Add some whites to the combined chocolate-butter-egg mix. Add lightened mix to the remaining meringue. Gently mix until no white streaks remain. Add 2 tbsp chopped nuts. Add lemon zest. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle 2 tbsp chopped nuts on top of batter.

                                                  Bake 20 to 25 minutes. The batter will puff up. It is done when you can stick a knife in the center of the pan and it comes out pretty clean. Remove from pan. Cut away and burnt bits. Line a cooling rack (or another pan) with parchment, invert over brownies and flip. Remove baking pan. Cover with parchment from baking pan. Let sit for 8 hours minimum. The recipe recommends cutting this into 12 brownies but I've always cut it into 24. They should be served upside down. They last well. They are the most sophisticated brownies I've ever had.

                                                  The original recipe calls for orange zest (you only need 1 orange), cinnamon, and walnuts. I don't remember what nuts I used for the cardamom version. I think almonds or pistachios. The brownies are fairly fragile. If you deal with the zest in advance and you have enough pans, it is relatively easy to make multiple batches fairly quickly.

                                                  The original recipe also called for sprinkling a little sea salt on the batter (along with the second addition of walnuts) but I didn't like the results. Possibly my sea salt, which was fairly damp, clumped too much.

                                                  1. These cardamom cookies are extraordinary - but up the cardamom by two times, I'd suggest.

                                                    1. My suggestion is similar to what many others have said. I use a cardomom cookie recipe that I got from BA/Gourmet a few years ago. It's basically one of those "mexican wedding cookie' recipes, but loaded up with cardamom. (It's not the one Miss mia linked to above.)

                                                      The cookies are wonderful and the flavor of the cardamom really shines.

                                                      1. I once had cardamom crusted lamb chops at a Dallas restaurant and it worked well.

                                                        Also, I'll second the whole custard thing, and add rice pudding as well!


                                                        1. I use it in the egg mixture when making French toast. Then, I sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with a small dollop of lemon curd and black raspberry jam. It was perfect when made with Trader Joe's Lemon Bread, but they don't have that anymore. Now, I use an artisan bread (some density) and even a soft crust sourdough.

                                                          I use about one teaspoon of cardamom powder in a mixture of three large eggs and two teaspoons of half and half (fat free cream is okay, too), a dash of salt, and a few drops of real vanilla.

                                                          1. Don't forget about tea. A nice milk tea spiced with cardamom is a fantastic finish to an Indian meal, or just at tea time with a samosa.

                                                            1. And don't forget about waffles! I love to make sour cream-cardamom waffles. Can't remember which country these come from-- I'm thinking the recipe I have is a Danish version (got it from a book my Danish MIL got me but it's a pan-Scandinavian book so I'd have to check).

                                                              1. Also try Indian recipes. Curries and other dishes take cardamom.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Seldomsated

                                                                  Green cardamom is common in both savory and sweet Indian dishes. In savory dishes it usually is used along with a number of other spices, but in desserts it often stands alone.

                                                                  Black cardamon has a peppery, smoky character, and is used only in savory dishes. I don't think it is used much outside of India.


                                                                2. When in Egypt a number of years ago, I was served coffee that was infused with cardamom (not sure if it was green or black). It added an amazing complexity to the coffee - though in all honesty I don't think I'd rush back, but that's just me.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: SalMonela

                                                                    When I had coffee ground at a Middle Eastern grocery, they asked whether I wanted it ground with cardamon or not.