Cardamom are tiny, spice-flavoured, seeds housed within the pod. The flavour from the seeds can either be extracted from the pod in a ground powder form, or the pod can be broken open, then added to the dish while cooking. The pod itself is husky, and therefore not pleasant to eat. These pod husks should be strained or removed before serving any drink or dish.
Ground Cardamom powder is available and can be sourced from your local grocery store or specialty outlet, however, these products, although labelled “Cardamom” are usually made up of a mixture of several different ground spices.
Cardamom farming started as far back as the Bronze Age. Trade routes opened up; running from the southern areas of India, through to Western Asia and the Mediterranean region. This spice became so popular with tradespeople in those early days that an import tax was applied to it in Egypt.
The Italians, realising its lucrative potential, became the biggest importer of the spice, and supplier, to the West.
The Portuguese started trading with cardamom after conquering the west coast of India in the 16thcentury. Since then, cardamom production has spread to more than 10 countries in the region.
Cardamom is believed to have therapeutic properties which aid the digestive system. Also, cardamom may ease the discomfort of inflammation, keep insulin levels in balance, and regulate blood pressure. Cardamom pods, when chewed, act as an effective breath freshener, as well as increases the saliva within the mouth. This, in turn, can protect against dental health problems. It is recommended you speak to your GP before taking cardamom supplements. This spice is safe for most people when used in moderation - such as in food flavouring.
For best results, grind fresh seeds and use immediately.
Indian rice pudding
Spiced bread and puddings
Broken Cardamom Pods ready for use