Last Updated : Apr 11,2019
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Also Known as Elaichi, Green cardamom
What is Cardamom? Next to black pepper, cardamom is the most common spice in India. It is also one of the world’s most ancient spices, often glorified as the Queen of Spices, the Grain of Paradise, and so on. It is used widely in India for culinary and medical purposes.
Cardamom grows as a perennial herb with thick, fleshy rhizomes or underground stems shooting leafy roots with leafy stems. It has very large leaves, white or pale green, many seeded pale green to yellow fruits and triangular brownish black seeds. It has a pleasant aroma with a warm pungent taste. Green cardamom pods are harder to find and more expensive in part because of their superior ability to retain aroma and flavour for longer.
Lightly crush the cardamom pods and extract the small black seeds inside. Discard the pods. Put the seeds in a mortar pestle, and crush coarsely or finely as required by the recipe. When making slightly larger quantities of crushed cardamom in a spice grinder or mixer, some people like to crush it with the pods in order to ensure a better grind and to prevent the powder from caking.
How to Select Cardamom • Cardamom is sold ground or whole. It is always better to buy whole cardamoms, and grind them as and when required, to retain the flavour for longer. Ground cardamom tends to lose its flavour quickly.
• If buying seeds, choose from light green, white or brown varieties.
• When buying whole, choose those with a greener pod for greater flavour.
11 Uses of Cardamom Cardamom is a spice that most predominantly grown in India (where it is known as Elaichi) and Indonesia. It is one of the most ancient spices in the world, sometimes referred to as the queen of spices and is also considered to be one of the most expensive spices. It is used for adding a distinct aroma and taste to the food.
1. Cardamom is one of the main spices used in Indian Cuisine.
2. A mix of whole spices that includes cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, is one of the best and classic combinations that flavors Punjabi vegetable subzis. These 3 spices enhance the flavor any gravy whether tomato, onion or milk based, for example Paneer Makhani and Dum aloo.
3. It gives a rich aroma and subtle sweetness to various rice dishes. Cardamom is an important ingredient that enriches the taste of different biryanis and pulaos like Shahi Pulao. Many recipes call for cardamom to be added whole, with the pod. It slowly infuses the dish with its essence and the shell disintegrates as it cools.
For complete uses of Cardamom read this article.
How to Store Cardamom • Cardamom is best stored with the pod, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour.
• While you could buy high quality cardamom powder from trusted dealers, it is always better to grind cardamoms as and when required.
• Cardamom needs to be stored in a cool, dry place and in an airtight container.
• It will stay aromatic for a year in dry conditions.
Health Benefits of Cardamom • It stimulates the digestive system and reduces gas.
• Its expectorant action improves circulation to the lungs and thus considered good for asthma and bronchitis.
• Can counteract excess acidity in the stomach.
• Stimulates appetite and cures halitosis (bad breath).
• An infusion made by boiling a couple of pounded cardamoms in a cup of water along with few mint leaves, relieves you from hiccups.
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