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.
Green cardamom is a seed pod, in the ginger family, hailing from way down South, in India. Whole, or ground, green is the most common form of the spice.
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.
- Spiced chai
- Swedish Cardamom sweet buns
- Finnish nissua bread
- Moroccan lentil soup
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A marvelous secret weapon in my luscious Luau Pork;
- Add a seed and a kafir lime leaf to a lemongrass broth or a Thai shrimp boil;
- Soak in a cold-brew with a fermented bean coffee for a chai caffe;
- A pod and a piece of ginger give steamed sweet potatoes an aromatic assist;
- A hint of cardamom in a vanilla cake adds magic aroma to the bake!
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.
- True cardamom
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