Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople, and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day.
Cardamom is an expensive spice, second only to saffron. It is often adulterated and there are many inferior substitutes from cardamom-related plants, such as Siam cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged Java cardamom, and bastard cardamom. However, it is only Elettaria cardamomum which is the true cardamom. Indian cardamom is known in two main varieties: Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom. The Mysore variety contains higher levels of cineol and limonene and hence is more aromatic

Spice Description
Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row. The pods are between 5-20 mm (1/4”-3/4”) long, the larger variety known as ‘black’, being brown and the smaller being green. White-bleached pods are also available. The pods are roughly triangular in cross section and oval or oblate. Their dried surface is rough and furrowed, the large ‘blacks’ having deep wrinkles. The texture of the pod is that of tough paper. Pods are available whole or split and the seeds are sold loose or ground. It is best to buy the whole pods as ground cardamom quickly loses flavour.
Bouquet: Pungent, warm and aromatic.
Flavour: Warm and eucalyptine with camphorous and lemony undertones. Black cardamom is blunter, the eucalyptus and camphor suggestions very pronounced.

Where to Buy Cardamom on the Internet
For online purchases we recommend buying through one of the reputable dealers associated with Amazon and their trusted and secure online ordering system.

Culinary Uses
The pods can be used whole or split when cooked in Indian substantial meals — such as pulses. Otherwise, the seeds can be bruised and fried before adding main ingredients to the pan, or pounded with other spices as required. Keep the pods whole until use. The pod itself is neutral in flavour and not generally used, imparting an unpleasant bitter flavour when left in dishes.

Cardamom is used mainly in the Near and Far East. Its commonest Western manifestation is in Dutch ‘windmill’ biscuits and Scandinavian-style cakes and pastries, and in akvavit. It features in curries, is essential in pilaus (rice dishes) and gives character to pulse dishes. Cardamom is often included in Indian sweet dishes and drinks. At least partially because of its high price, it is seen as a ‘festive’ spice. Other uses are; in pickles, especially pickled herring; in punches and mulled wines; occasionally with meat, poultry and shellfish. It flavours custards, and some Russian liqueurs. Cardamom is also chewed habitually (like nuts) where freely available, as in the East Indies, and in the Indian masticory, betel pan. It is a flavouring for Arab and Turkish coffee which is served with an elaborate ritual.

Health Benefits of Cardamom
Commonly known in India as "choti elaichi", cardamom's scientific name is Elletaria cardamomum. Though it is more popularly used as a herbal spice , which is added in dishes to provide a strong aroma and flavor but in Ayurveda it is considered to be a very useful and effective medicine. In Ayurvedic texts cardamom is referred to as "ela".

According to traditional wisdom of Ayurveda, cardamom is effective in improving digestion. It helps those suffering from stomach cramps. It is a good stimulant and beneficial for those suffering from flatulence and gas.

Cardamom also helps in cleansing the body as it has detoxifying properties. It is basically a warm spice and known to have originated from India. It improves blood circulation to the lungs and can be helpful in prevention of spasms or convulsions. Hence, cardamom in small quantities is beneficial for those suffering from asthma or bronchitis.

Cardamom enhances appetite and provides relief from acidity in the stomach. It is used in the cure of halitosis. It is beneficial for those suffering from various kinds of respiratory allergies. When you have sore throat, you can try out a little quantity of this medicinal spice.

Those suffering from nausea as well as excessive threat can also try out cardamom. Along with some other medicines, it can be used for treating mouth ulcers. It is known to be a good cure for weakness in general. Some practitioners of Ayurevda also advise its use for treating infection of the urinary tract.

Cardamom is known to be helpful in balancing all three 'doshas' in the human body. Hence it is termed as "tridoshic”. A little quantity of cardamom is especially beneficial in balancing "kapha”. It can be used for balancing "vata" and "pitta" also.

The quantity of cardamom which need to be consumed depends on the physiology of a person and the disease which is to be treated or cured from.

Save and share this post
Want to share this post your family and friends? Click the button below to send them an email or save this to your favorite social network.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...