25 Ways to Use Cardamom

Using spices like cardamom really helps me think outside the box and play with new flavors and cuisines that I normally don’t cook. Cardamom is a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines (try it as a flavoring for coffee or in some mulled wine) and also plays a big part in Swedish cooking, which seems strange until you find out that it was brought back from what is now Turkey to Scandinavia by Viking explorers. Cardamom was used as a breath freshener by the ancient Egyptians and a digestive aid in traditional Indian medicine, but most importantly, it’s delicious — warm and sweet in a way that pairs well with many savory dishes (think poultry, curries and all kinds of rice dishes) and is particularly fantastic as we head into the crisp days of fall. If you’re using the whole pods, gently toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until they start smelling aromatic. From there you can use whole or toss in a spice grinder. Cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices, second only to saffron. A little bit of this pungent spice packs a punch though, so don’t worry about having to use your whole stock in one dish. Incorporate cardamom into your weekly routine with these 25 recipes:

  1. Your next weekend cooking project has arrived: Pistachio-Crusted Chinook Salmon with Ginger-Cardamom Yogurt Sauce, Glazed Beets and Grilled Summer Squash. Although this dish comprises several pieces, none are overwhelmingly complicated.
  2. Aarti Sequeira rehydrates dates in brandy for her Date, Pistachio and Cardamom Cake (pictured above), adding a bit of bite to contrast the sticky sweetness of the dates.
  3. Just when you think creme brulee can’t be improved upon, in comes Banana and Cardamom Creme Brulee.
  4. Southmoreland Plum Kabobs with Cardamom Sugar Rub might just be the easiest (and most delicious) dessert you will ever make. Sprinkle plum kabobs with cardamom sugar rub, then grill and eat!
  5. Make easy Cardamom-Orange French Toast for a weekend treat. Aida Mollenkamp utilizes French batard bread, which is similar to a baguette, but a little shorter and squatter (like a squished football). If you can’t find any batard, substitute brioche or even ciabatta.
  6. Roasted Pears with Cardamom Granola and Vanilla Ice Cream is an easy dessert, but substitute vanilla yogurt for ice cream and you’ve got yourself a fancy breakfast for a crowd.
  7. Subtly sweet Meyer Lemon Cardamom Crinkle Cookies might just become your go-to cookie recipe. A cross between the common lemon and a Mandarin orange, Meyer lemons are slightly sweeter than their traditional counterparts.
  8. Cardamom is a great infuser for alcohol. Add it to your mulling spices for mulled wine, or try it in an Orange Cardamom Bellini. If you want to get your molecular gastronomy on, try out Nadia’s Cardamom Blood Orange Mojitos with Sweet Basil Caviar (or just muddle some basil and call it a day). Thai basil is a sweeter and spicier variety of basil with purple stems (and sometimes leaves). You can often find Thai basil at Asian markets, but if unavailable, sweet basil will be a near-perfect sub.
  9. Aarti Sequeira pairs chicken with orange and cardamom in two classic dinners: I Ain’t Chicken Chicken: Crispy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Orange and Cardamom and Roasted Chicken Breasts with Orange, Cardamom and Turmeric.
  10. Cardamom-Stewed Chickpea and Tomato Ragout is a great vegetarian side dish for Meatless Monday, especially paired with something substantial like grilled eggplant steaks.
  11. If I still haven’t convinced you that lamb deserves a shot, try Roger Mooking’s Cardamom Marinated Lamb Chops with Pear Chutney, Cilantro Cous Cous and Tomato Yogurt Salad.
  12. Move over cupcakes; rice pudding is the new “it” dessert. Get in on this delicious trend with some spicy varieties: Tres Leches Rice Pudding, Vanilla Rice Pudding with Glazed Oranges, Orange-Cardamom Madeleines and Orange Sabayon, Instant Rice Pudding with Cinnamon, Cardamom and Blueberries and Rice Pudding with Green Tea Apple Sorbet and Chili Pineapple.
  13. Cardamom Vanilla Bean Ice Cream just screams autumn and begs to be paired with Pumpkin Pie Pinwheel Cookies.
  14. Deep Dish Cheese Pie is a sweet, spicy cheese pie made with farmer cheese, which is similar to (and can be substituted by) cream cheese. It’s really a variation of cottage cheese, just pressed and strained further.
  15. Grab the last of the summer stone fruits and make this Apricot Jam Recipe with Noyaux, Spices and Bourbon. The noyaux is the little seed inside of an apricot pit; wrapped up in cheesecloth with spices like peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, the noyaux adds lots of flavor to your jam.
  16. So you’ve just gone apple picking and now have the urge to bake apples in everything? Do it with Apple Crumble with Cardamom-Vanilla Caramel Sauce.
  17. Jamie Oliver incorporates lots of Swedish flavors, like cardamom, into his brioche-like Sexy Swedish Buns, which are then both filled and topped with mashed blueberries.
  18. Grill up an exotic dinner like Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers with a peanut coconut sauce that the whole family will enjoy. Marinate the chicken overnight for tons of flavor and a no-prep dinner.
  19. Gulab Jaman is a fried Indian dessert made with ghee (a type of clarified butter) and soaked in a sweet spiced syrup.
  20. Moroccan-Style Fruitcake with Apricots, Dates and Figs utilizes phyllo dough instead of traditional pie crust. Always top thawed phyllo dough with damp paper towels when not in use to avoid drying it out.
  21. The Fabulous Beekman Boys’ Pineapple-Glazed Shrimp is tossed in a combination of garam masala, coriander, salt, sugar and cumin before heading to the grill. Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that varies in composition, but is usually made up of warm sweet and hot spices like cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper.
  22. Nigella Lawson’s Cornbread Topped Chile con Carne utilizes many warm Middle Eastern spices to change up a game-day classic.
  23. As we’ve already established, cardamom is a popular spice in Swedish food, so it should be no surprise that one of the most iconic Swedish dishes, meatballs, features the spice: Swedish Cardamom Meatballs.
  24. Michael Chiarello’s easy dessert, Zinful (Sinless) Poached Peaches with Cardamom Yogurt, sweetens up Greek yogurt with cardamom for a healthy indulgence.
  25. Cardamom coffee is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisines. Take it to the next level with a Cardamom Coffee and Cream Granita.

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