WHAT IS IT?
From Sweden to South Africa, cardamom’s aroma, and piney-peppery bite, make everything from your Chai teas, to traditional Indian curries, to Cardamom buns, taste just right.
Decorticated is the tiny, fragrant seed, removed from the cardamom pod. Many people cook with the seed in the pod in stews, or curries, where it will saturate, but, if you want just the seed, decorticated is the way to go.
The flavor is complex, fierce, piney, citric, and a bit peppery. Green cardamom pods are the essential notes of a warming chai tea on a cold day. They are the aroma and bite of a sweet Swedish cardamom bun, and an essential element of masaman, and other aromatic curries.
The plant is native to India and Papua New Guinea. It is grown in any tropical climate throughout Asia and Central America. One of the ways that historians could prove that the Vikings were world navigators was via the cardamom that they introduced into Scandinavian cuisine. Our friends in India, who are cardamom gurus, will argue where Sikkim, or Kerala state, the world’s largest producers of cardamom, makes the nicest spice. These are the seeds of the green cardamom pod.
- Spiced chai
- Swedish Cardamom sweet buns
- Finnish nissua bread
- Moroccan lentil soup
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A great addition to a simple American barbecue spice rub as a flavor accent
- Cracked and roasted on top of roasted butternut squash chunks with a bit of pequin chile pepper and salt.
- A pod dropped into an Asian cucumber and shallot pickling produces extra depth.
- As role player in a mix of seasonings in bit of rice bran oil it offers meats and seafoods a big kick that are wok-fried Asian or even sauteed for African or Euro-American dishes.
Cardamom was first imported into Europe around 1300 BC, brought to Scandinavia by the Vikings. Indian growers keep refining, through plant selection, high yielding varietals of the plant, that grow in wetter locations. The jury is out as to how that affects taste.
The German coffee planter Oscar Majus Kloeffer introduced Indian cardamom to cultivation in Guatemala before World War I. By 2000, that country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India. Cardamom is the world’s third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron.
- Hill cardamom
- Bengal cardamom
- winged cardamom
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