Species: Elettaria cardamomum
Other names: Green cardamom
Appearance: The green cardamom pods contains small, round, sticky, black seeds.
Typically used: Cardamom pods can be used whole or split. When split, the inside seeds can be used whole or ground.
Origin: Cardamom is one of the world’s oldest and most valuable spices after vanilla and saffron. Originating in southern India, it now also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, and Indo China.
Flavor: Cardamom has a warm, eucalyptus-like flavor, with lemon undertones.
Aroma: Warm, slightly sweet, and comforting
Culinary uses: Cardamom is used in curries, rice dishes, and pulse dishes. It is also used in desserts and sweet drinks, like lassis. The unique spice is often paired with cinnamon and cloves, and lends a distinct flavor to chai.
Q: What sort of recipes are good for using the whole green cardamom pods?
A. Whole green cardamom pods are wonderful simmered with other spices while making chai tea or when cooking a grain dish such as rice or quinoa. You can use the whole green cardamom in curry dishes, too. The pods gently open a bit, lending the delicate flavor and aroma of the seeds to the entire dish.
Q: When should I use the whole seeds vs. using ground cardamom?
A. Since it would be unpleasant to bite into or try to chew cardamom seeds, they should be used in dishes where they can be strained before eating. Making spiced tea or chai and spiced coffee are good examples, as are marinades and sauces. One of the best uses for cardamom seeds is to freshly grind them for use in numerous dishes, including desserts. As a general rule, freshly ground spices carry unmatched, robust flavor.