Sweet puddings (also known sometimes as custards, especially in Europe) are a deliciously rich & creamy milk based dessert with a lovely silky texture & taste. After a spicy Indian meal, a sweet & creamy pudding is the absolute perfect dessert for cooling one’s palate.
Bananas have long been a very important & essential part of India’s culture, cuisine & diet. They are easily available all year round, are relatively inexpensive, very nutritious & just simply delicious. Bananas are an extremely rich source of potassium & other trace minerals. They aid in both cardiovascular & neurological development & health. Many consider bananas to be the perfect food source & I tend to agree whole-heartedly.
My Banana Cardamom Pudding is a lovely & delicious way to end any meal. Best of all, this pudding contains absolutely no gelatin. It is simple to prepare & can easily be made right on your stovetop. This dessert is just perfect for entertaining since it can be made well in advance. This recipe is also a great way to use up your ripe bananas quickly ☺.
BANANA CARDAMOM PUDDING
2 large (or 3 medium size) ripe but firm bananas
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2˝ cups whole milk
4-5 green cardamom pods, gently crushed
˝ cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
˝ tsp ground cardamom powder
2 tbsp toasted pecans (or pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts…), finely chopped
1 small banana, sliced for garnish
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, making sure you have an available oven rack in the center. Place the bananas (unpeeled) on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, the outer peels will have completely blackened but the inside pulp will be very soft & tender. Allow the bananas to cool before peeling & then mash into a smooth thick paste – a food processor works well. Don’t forget to add in the lemon juice to prevent any discoloration. Set aside until needed.
In a medium heavy bottom saucepan on medium low heat, combine 2 cups of the milk with the cardamom pods, sugar & salt. Stir well to dissolve the sugar & bring the mixture to a gentle boil (this may take about 8-10 minutes). Then remove the saucepan completely from the heat, cover & let stand for about 10 minutes until slightly cooled.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with the remaining ˝ cup of whole milk until smooth. Next, add in the egg & ground cardamom powder – whisk until all of the ingredients are well combined. Now carefully add a ladle full of the heated milk mixture to the cornstarch/egg mixture & whisk together. This technique is known as tempering & will prevent the egg from becoming scrambled when the two mixtures are combined together. Pour the combine mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the cardamom pods & any other solids that may have formed during the process.
Now return to saucepan to the heat & gently simmer while stirring constantly. At this point, you can add in the well-mashed bananas. Mix well to combine; the pudding will slowly thicken in a few minutes. Quickly transfer the pudding to a serving bowl & cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap (or parchment paper). After 15-20 minutes, chill the pudding in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or longer. Just before serving, garnish the pudding with fresh banana slices, sprinkle the pudding liberally with the chopped pecans & serve chilled. Enjoy!
There are so many creative possibilities here! Instead of cardamom, try different spices or ingredients such as saffron, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, chai masala, vanilla bean, rose water, orange blossom water, orange or lemon zest, honey…
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