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Where EAST meets the Northwest

CARDAMOM IN A CLASSIC. Pictured is a loaf of Banana Bread with Cardamom and Jaggery in London. In small amounts, cardamom has delicate floral and eucalyptus notes, which brings out the best in the more traditional ingredients in banana bread and makes for a fragrant treat. (Meera Sodha via AP)

From The Asian Reporter, V26, #13 (July 4, 2016), page 13.

Cardamom lends fragrant twist to banana bread

By Meera Sodha

The Associated Press

Banana bread is a time-tested American classic, perfect for making in advance for picnics, gifts, and for using up ripe bananas. And given its all-American status, itís a perfect way to start (or end) July 4th.

Hereís a variation with an Indian twist ó cardamom, which often grows next to bananas in Kerala. In small amounts, cardamom has delicate floral and eucalyptus notes, which brings out the best in the more traditional ingredients in banana bread and makes for a fragrant treat.

Like many Indians, I add jiggery for sweetness. It is an unrefined sugar made from the sap of date palms or sugarcane. It has a deep caramel flavor to it, a cross between molasses and fudge that adds a richness and great color to the bread. Jaggery can be found in cakes or cones at Asian food stores or online, but if you canít find it, it can be substituted with Muscovado sugar.

This recipe makes for a moist bread with lots of flavor. The only thing youíll need to remember is to leave a little room for dessert.

Editorís note: Meera Sodha is an Indian foods expert and author of Made in India: Recipes from

an Indian Family Kitchen. She lives in London.


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Banana Bread with Cardamom and Jaggery

Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (20 minutes active time)

Servings: 10

1 stick butter, unsalted

1 cup jaggery, grated (or substitute Muscovado sugar)

2 cups white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons milk

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas, plus 1 banana for decoration

The best bananas to use are ripe bananas that have black speckles on them and are soft to the touch. Theyíll be sweeter and more flavorful. This banana bread can be eaten as is, or served with butter, yogurt, or whipped cream.

Butter a loaf tin (approximately 9" x 5"). Preheat the oven to 350ļ Fahrenheit.

Put the butter and grated jaggery into a pan and melt over a very low heat. Stir until well mixed with the consistency of melted chocolate, then remove from the heat and leave to one side to cool.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt and leave to one side.

In another bowl, add the mashed banana and milk, and whisk in the eggs one by one. Add the jaggery-and-butter mixture. Whisk again until properly mixed.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until mixed together then pour the batter into the tin. To decorate, slice the remaining banana lengthways into 1/4 inch slices and place over the top of the batter. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories (92 calories from fat); 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 68 mg cholesterol; 165 mg sodium; 53 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 29 g sugar; 4 g protein.

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