Trying out different spices in dishes is an excellent way of putting oneself apprised of global flavors. Cardamom is an important ingredient in Middle East and Indian dishes. There are two main types of cardamom pods: black cardamom and green cardamom.
The cardamom pod contains several seeds that can be used whole or grounded for ease if incorporated into dishes. Its pod is spindle-shaped with a triangular cross-section, while its seeds are small and black.
What does cardamom taste like? The different types of cardamom have a distinct taste. Black cardamom has a sweet, strong, pungent, minty, and menthol-like flavor. On the other hand, green cardamom gives off a spicy, sweet, and zesty fruit flavor when added to dishes. Both varieties blend well in food and when used too much, the taste can become too sharp in food.
The pod, seed, and powdered form of cardamom can be used to spice up savory dishes to give it an enhanced taste.
Nutritional Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom has been used over the years as spice and medicine. The different forms of the spice and be used as a supplement. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties that can help reduce and maintain healthy blood pressure. Its diuretic ability also enhances the proper functioning of the heart by removing excess water that might build up through urination.
The spice contains compounds that help increase the formation and activity of enzymes in the body that help fight against cancer and other chronic diseases. It also boosts the ability and activity of natural killer cells that prevent the formation of tumors.
Over time, cardamom has been used to sustain healthy food digestion in the body. When mixed with medicinal spices, it can relieve stress, nausea, vomiting, and relieve stomach ache issues. Also, the consumption of the spice helps prevent or reduce the size of gastric ulcers by 50%.
It is a natural medicine for treating bad breath and enhancing oral health. Eating an entire cardamom pod can assist in fighting common bacteria in the mouth and saliva that can give off a bad odor and leads to dental cavities.
Cardamom pods are well appreciated by asthmatic patients as they boost the proper functioning of the respiratory system. They do this by relaxing the airway, increasing airflow to the lungs, and improving breathing. When used in sporting activities and aromatherapy, it gives off a strong smell that helps increase the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently during vigorous exercise.
It also decreases the rate of formation of liver enzymes, triglycerides, and high cholesterol levels that help protect the liver by preventing its enlargement, large weight, and risk of fatty liver illnesses.
Culinary Uses of Cardamom
The spice in its whole and ground form brags well of going well with foods and drinks. It pairs well with poultry, meat, lentil, cinnamon, nutmeg, rice, apple pie, stone fruit, orange juice, and alcohol. Two or three spoonfuls of finely ground cardamom seeds can be added to fruit fillings to add to its taste and cut through any sharp taste.
Swedish cuisines can be given a special taste with the addition of cardamom seed and powder. Finnish pulla is baked by stuffing it with the spice seed, giving it a crunchy bite, releasing a warm spiced flavor on the taste bud. Just like cumin, cardamom can be spread carefully on cooked basmati rice and chutney for a nice aroma.
Cardamom is the perfect spice if you’re planning on preparing soup. The combination of sweet potato, root vegetable, coconut milk, and the seed will give your soup a full flavor. You can also use it for flavoring pastries like apple pies, chocolate, and vanilla-based cakes.
When you feel like taking a cup of coffee or tea, add cardamom to spice it up. Add it to your freshly prepared Chai latte, heat the seed with aniseed, milk, and water over medium-high heat before adding tea leaves. Filter out the tea and serve it with cookies.
Where is Cardamom Grown? How Do You Procure It?
It is a prominent spice in Indian and subtropical Asia. Cardamom is native to South India and increased consumption in households led to it being grown in higher altitude areas like China, Laos, and Vietnam.
In the 1990s, German brought the cardamom seed to plant alongside their coffee. The modern-day cardamon found in the United States was being exported by Guatemala.
It is sold whole, shelled whole seed, or in-ground form in the spice section of the supermarket. After purchasing a cardamom pod from the store, toast it in a dry skillet for some minutes before removing the seeds in the pod. You can then grind it in Mortar and pestle or use a motorized spice grinder to make powder.
Whole pods and grounded pods should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to keep their quality. Make sure moisture does not enter into the ground form to prevent it from losing its potency.
Can Cardamom Be Substituted for Coriander?
Cardamom is an excellent replacement for Coriander. The taste and aroma of coriander are weak compared to that of cardamom. If you want a stronger flavor in your recipe, use cardamom instead.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Cardamom
- White cardamom is a bleached version of green. It is grown in tropical climates and it has less flavor.
- Nepal is the largest producer of cardamom.
- It is one of the most expensive spices in the world, after saffron and vanilla.