Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices. It is the “Queen of Spices” second only to Saffron. It originates in Southern India, but now grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China, Tanzania and PNG.
Uses: Can be used in whole, seed or powder form. However, it is best to keep the whole pods, as seeds and powder quickly lose flavour.
Green Cardamom: In pod form, has a strong unique taste and intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. Used in rice dishes, stews and curries, savouries and sweets, and for flavouring in chai (masala tea) and coffee.
White Cardamom: Sun bleached cardamom used in baking and some desserts, as it helps keep light coloured batters and sauces. Due to the bleaching process, it loses some flavour and aroma.
Cardamom Seeds: Collected from the pod, with a spicy sweet flavour and an aroma similar to eucalyptus. Used in pastries, cakes, biscuits, fruit desserts and curries.
Cardamom Powder: Produced from the seeds. Used as an ingredient in desserts, curries, stews and garam masala (spice mixture used in Indian cuisine). It has a strong flavour and is used in small quantities.
Black Cardamom: Large, hard, black-brown, winkled pods with distinct aroma to that of Green Cardamom. As such, its use is limited mainly to oriental dishes. Has a very pungent odour, with a strong camphor smell.