Intense, aromatic, and minty, cardamom spice is the queen of Asian cuisine. Learn more about the diverse uses for cardamom throughout the culinary world.
What is cardamom?
The exceptional spice of the Indian subcontinent, cardamom is a seed pod that grows on various plants belonging to the ginger family. The cardamom pod contains tiny black seeds enclosed in a papery outer shell. The cardamom plant is native to the Indian subcontinent, and Indonesia. However, the plants are now cultivated in other parts of the world including Malaysia, Guatemala, and Tanzania. Today, cardamom is used as an essential spice in the Indian-Pakistani, Middle Eastern, and Nordic cuisines.
Flavor of cardamom
Cardamon offers a multidimensional flavor that is citrusy, spicy, sweet, and piney at the same time. On top of that, it’s considerably aromatic in taste and has a cooling effect as that of mint. A small amount of cardamom spice adds an intense flavor to any dish.
Types of Cardamom
Two types of cardamom spice are actively used in cooking: green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom is more popular for desserts due to its aromatic, tangy, and sweet flavor, but is equally fantastic in savory recipes and refreshing drinks. Black cardamom, which is twice the size of green cardamom, is often used in savory recipes due to its pungent, and smoky flavor.
Uses for cardamom
Both forms of cardamom are used as a flavoring and cooking spice in various meals and drinks. Nordic cuisine leverages this intense spice into a variety of breads, buns, cakes, and muffins. Try our recipe for Cardamom French Toast to enjoy the sweet side of this delicious spice. Middle-eastern cuisine uses cardamom to add a strong punch of flavor to drinks and desserts. For a new spin on an old favorite, add one or two crushed cardamom seeds to ground coffee beans before steeping.
Turkish cuisine also adds cardamom spice to their coffee to complement the bitter taste of coffee beans and neutralizes the beverage’s acidity. Indian cuisine calls for cardamom in traditional curries (try our recipe for palak paneer), rice dishes, puddings, and beverages. Cardamom milk is a popular drink in India which includes ground almonds, powdered green cardamom, and chilled milk. Garam Masala is a spice-mix for which cardamom is an integral ingredient along with cinnamon, black pepper, cumin seeds, and nutmeg spice.
Masala Chai is a beverage well known for its intensely aromatic, spicy, and sweet flavor. Cardamom adds the typical minty freshness to this traditional Indian tea and can be enjoyed hot or ice.