The subtle benefits of spices are often overlooked in western cooking, however in Ayurvedic cuisine, spices are the heart of the dish!
They offer medicinal aid for digestion, joint health, gut health, internal organ support, anti-inflammatory properties and provide balance and flavor to any dish.
Cardamom is an Ayurvedic spice that can be used in savory or sweet dishes. The medicinal properties of cardamom are endless! Cardamom is known to be an antioxidant, it helps to lower blood pressure, supports the liver and kidneys in flushing out toxins, boosts metabolism, and helps to aid in digestion. It also supports the cardiovascular system with its anti-inflammatory medicine for the heart.
Cardamom also has anti-fungal properties and can be used in a natural toothpaste, as well as in cooking. This aromatic spice has a gorgeous aroma and is even used as an essential oil or fragrant perfume.
Cardamom hails from the ghats of Southern India (the heart of Ayurveda), but it can also be grown in lush tropical climates such as Sri Lanka, parts of Central America, Africa, and South America.
A relative of ginger root, cardamom grows off the flower of the plant in a pod form.
It can be used whole in teas, as a garnish, or it can be dried and ground into a powder. The powder form is ideal for baking and cooking, as it keeps for longer. But if you ever find yourself in the markets of Southern India, do yourself a favor, get some fresh cardamom and make some tea, you will not be disappointed!
Cardamom is an amazing spice to use in baking to add a sweet, spicy depth and flavor to your dish. Ayurveda recommends eating something sweet BEFORE a meal, in order to support your digestion.
By eating something sweet, your mouth begins to water, therefore creating digestive enzymes that will actually help you process your savory meal! We don’t need another reason to eat cake, but here we are eating dessert before dinner. Thank you, Ayurveda!
Vegan Cardamom Banana Cake from The Yoga Girl® Kitchen:
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 3 ripe bananas – mashed
- ½ cup oats
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil – melted
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ½ cup nut milk (we used oat milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Optional flax egg substitute (mix 1 Tbsp ground flax with 3 Tbsp water and add to wet ingredients for a bouncier consistency)
- Heat the oven to 350 F. If you have a bundt cake pan that’s ideal, but if not, brush any cake pan with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, mix the cardamom, cinnamon, oats, coconut flour, coconut sugar and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, mix the banana, maple syrup, nut milk, vanilla, melted coconut oil and flax egg (optional).
- Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl. Turn through the mixture and then scoop into the well-greased cake pan.
- Bake for 38-42 mins. for a 9’ x 13” pan, 45 mins. for a bundt cake, or until a fork/toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be certain to keep checking your cake as oven temperatures may vary.
- Let cool (especially if you're making a bundt cake!) before cutting to help hold it together.
When it's all done, garnish however you like! Whole cardamom pods, cinnamon or confectioner’s sugar sprinkled over the top, a dollop of vegan whipped cream, chopped nuts, a drizzle of maple syrup, the possibilities are infinite! You could even take it one step further by adding a side of cardamom tea with your cake in the afternoon to have a proper Ayurvedic Swedish Fika!