This week – Cardamom…
It’s a question that customers ask quite often at Cookson Spice Ltd:
“Those little seeds that I find when I get an Indian takeaway – what are they?”
Well, I’m going to start my celebration of Indian herbs and spices with the humble cardamom.
Humble it may be, but this innocent little pod that originated in Indonesia is the third most expensive spice in the world!
Ground, it is an essential part of Garam Masala (literally translated as ‘hot mix of spices’) commonly found in western and eastern cooking.
The three cardamom types are green, white and black.
Green Cardamom has a light, sweet flavour, with a hint of eucalyptus and a citrus feel. We use it in Indian sweet and savoury dishes.
The white cardamom seed can be looked upon as the younger sibling of the green – the same taste, only not as much. It’s a hint of its older brother.
The black cardamom seed (to continue with the family metaphor) is most definitely the parent – strong and overpowering (not sure what this is saying about my family. Anyway…).
They have a menthol like, smoked mint flavour.
Recipes that Use Cardamom
Some foods that use cardamom may surprise you.
They compliment vegetables and a variety of meats perfectly – Biryani, Rogan Josh and Vindaloo dishes in particular taste great with five of six cardamom pods added into the mix.
If you want to add a bit of an exotic flavour to rice then cardamom is something once tried, you’ll never want to stop using.
If we move away from Indian cooking, cardamom is also used in a variety of other dishes:
- Spiced Mulled Wine Trifle.
- Butter chicken
- Orange blossom baklava.
- Even spiced tea!!
Health Benefits of Cardamom
As well as having a taste that you’d travel a million miles to sample, cardamom also has tremendous health benefits.
It has been used medicinally for thousands of years in in Ancient Greece, Egypt, India and Rome.
It is well known for its ability to treat digestive and stomach disorders and…
- Can help relieve indigestion and intestinal gas.
- Used to treat asthma and bronchitis.
- It has diuretic properties.
- Cardamom can even relieve bad breath and help clear up teeth and gum disorders. Some people chew the pods, just as you would chewing gum.
So, there you have it, before Apple stormed the western world with the iPod, the cardamom pod was there, stirring our taste buds into a flavoured frenzy.
How do you use cardamom pods? We’d love to hear from you.
Till next time…