Cardamom is a green pod filled with seeds that are slightly sticky. They come from the Elletaria cardamomum plant which is a part of the ginger family. The seeds have been used as food and also for medicinal purposes in India and Sri Lanka for thousands of years. Guatemala is now the biggest producer of this spice. Black seeds are a sign of quality, while lighter-colored, pale seeds should be avoided.
Cardamom seeds have a sweet minty flavor that has a citrusy, herbal undertone. Cardamom contains cineole which provides herbaceous and eucalyptus flavor notes, suitable for a versatile range of dishes. Once heated, the spice becomes highly fragrant. If you’ve ever been inside an Indian restaurant, it’s likely this is one of the aromas filling the dining area.
- sweet potatoes
Spice blends: curry powder, chai, ras el hanout, baharat, tagine spice, garam masala.
Cardamom can be used in a wide range of savory and spice dishes thanks to its fresh, sweet flavor notes. Moderation is essential when using this spice as it can easily overwhelm the other other flavors.
Indian cooking uses the spice to flavor rice, curries, and also it is included in popular spice blends like garam masala.
A subtle hint of cardamom works well in cakes, gingerbread, cookies, and pastries. It pairs especially well with apples and citrus fruit like grapefruit.
In the Middle East, coffee is taken to a refreshing new level with the addition of a split pod.
How much? Use 1 ½ teaspoons of cardamom in vegetables, baked goods, and white meat. Increase the quantity to two teaspoons for a pound of red meat.
To replace cardamom in a recipe use equal parts cloves and cinnamon. Alternatively, you can use nutmeg. They won’t perfectly mimic the flavor, but they won’t taste out of place in most recipes. Replace a half teaspoon of ground cardamom, use 10 whole pods.
Store whole pods in an airtight container or jar in a dark, dry place for up to one year.
|Flavor compound||Cineole, A-fenchyl acetate, limeone,|
|Botanical name||Elettaria cardamomum|
|Parts used||Pods and seeds|
|Other names||Queen of spices, small cardamom|