Cardamom (not cardamon)

October 1, 2009 at 11:11 am 2 comments


A few of the recipes I’ve posted indicate cardamom as an optional ingredient. It has a very unique, pungent taste and aroma. If you buy it in the spice section of the grocery store, it is quite pricey. You can also get it at health food stores for considerably less – it just comes in a less attractive, less functional container there. If you DO get a big ol’ bag of it from the health food store, I suggest you divvy it up amongst a few of your friends, as once the pods are ground, they begin to lose their potency.

From Wiki: “Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with a coolness similar to mint, though with a different aroma. It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, and is often used in baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight but little is needed to impart the flavor. Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavor. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available and is an acceptable substitute. For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of ground cardamom.In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes as well as traditional flavouring in coffee and tea. Cardamom pods are ground together with coffee beans to produce a powdered mixture of the two, which is boiled with water to make coffee. Cardamom is also used in some extent in savoury dishes. In Arabic, cardamom is called al-Hayl.  In Persian, it is called hel. In Hebrew, it is also called hel (הל).   In Gujarati (a derivative of Sanskrit), it is “Ē-lī-chē”.In some Middle Eastern countries, coffee and cardamom are often ground in a wooden mortar and cooked together in a mihbaz, an oven using wood or gas, to produce mixtures that are as much as forty percent cardamom.In South Asia, green cardamom is often used in traditional Indian sweets and in Masala chai (spiced tea). Black cardamom is sometimes used in garam masala for curries. It is occasionally used as a garnish in basmati rice and other dishes. It is often referred to as fat cardamom due its size (‘Moti Elaichi’). Individual seeds are sometimes chewed, in much the same way as chewing-gum. It has also been known to be used for gin making.”

If you haven’t tried it yet, break out of that mold, and give it a try!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. angie  |  October 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’m so glad you did this post, I’ve seen this on a few recipes and just disregarded it, but now i’m more excited to go ahead and give it a try!


    • 2. bradcreerhrcooks  |  October 8, 2009 at 8:59 pm

      I honestly can’t remember the recipe where I first saw this, but I’m sure glad that I did. You can add a pinch (literally, its quite strong) to just about any recipe that calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. I always take a big whif of the bottle first, it smells almost like perfume.



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