Lots of people try to find a substitute for cardamom. This is absolutely ridiculous though, because there’s really nothing that tastes exactly like cardamom. The alternatives cannot even begin to compare with the intense, herbal and delicious taste of cardamom. The very fact that you are seeking a substitute kind of proves that what you REALLY want is cardamom, isn’t it?
If you really must know, cinnamon is the closest thing, but of course it doesn’t even compare to the deliciousness that is cardamom. Allspice is decent as well, and nutmeg can also work, but again these are very weak substitutes. You will not find a replacement for cardamom because there isn’t one.
If money is the problem and not allergy, I want to offer you an alternative approach. Since the only thing limiting you is the financial cost, then what you simply have to do is stop going to supermarkets and herbal shops to get your cardamom and try something else.
To get the cheapest deals you will have to search for Indian ethnic markets. Since cardamom is a staple of Indian culture, you will often find it there at very affordable prices. If you live in the United States, Cost Plus World Markets often offer good prices as well.
If for some reason you are allergic to cardamom then a combination of nutmeg and cinnamon is probably your best bet. Just don’t expect it to compare to cardamom.
If money is the problem, then all in all, don’t you think that it’s kind of ridiculous that you have to look for a substitute for something that you enjoy so damn much? Doesn’t that just feel and sound completely wrong to you? Isn’t there a deeper part of you, and I’m talking to the cardamom fan and lover inside of you, that would do anything to have this spice every day?
Yes, I’m biased towards cardamom. Nevertheless, there is no real substitute to cardamom and until scientists find a way to replicate taste there won’t be one. But of course, instead of waiting that long, you can just buy it and be done with it, instead of looking for a cheap substitute.
But honestly, cardamom fans: Get your act together and just buy the damn thing. You know that you have a desperate craving for it, and most likely you won’t be satisfied with the cinnamon and nutmeg combination that people commonly use to replace cardamom.
It’s a weak substitute. It’s better to make money so that you can buy it and have peace of mind(and delicious cardamom) then to come up with a substitute that really doesn’t taste all that much like the real thing. The nutmeg’s unique taste and the cinnamon’s texture can somewhat deliver some of the taste that cardamom provides… but it will not ever come close to the real thing.
No more excuses. You know that this is your soul’s desire. Or at the very least, your stomach’s desire. 😛