I’ve only ever tasted a handful of flavors that actually come close to the complexity of cardamom. Cardamom has been around for ages and is dubbed the ‘queen of spices’—for a reason.
This spice has the ultimate power of brightening your baking, providing a luxurious taste to your cup of milk tea, and tempers heat in your cooking. A spice you definitely do not want to miss.
Read on to see why you should include cardamom in your cooking.
Related Post: What Does Cumin Taste Like – A Spice Trendsetter!
What Is Cardamom?
Cardamom does not pop up in recipes as often as ginger or cinnamon, but trust me when I say this is an explosive addition to your spice rack.
It is extracted from seed pods of the cardamom plant, which is in the same family as ginger. You can easily recognize it by its pod husks that contain the seeds. You’d see cardamom in three colors, green, black, and white. I won’t bore you with the technical, scientific names!
All you need to know is that they have different flavor profiles. Green cardamom is the most used variety and uses the whole pod with the seeds.
Black cardamom is only the seeds and is smoke-dried. This gives it a signature smoky flavor. It is not really a type though, just green cardamom that has been bleached.
But why is it so expensive, I hear you asking.
It takes three years for the cardamom plant to produce its seed pods, which is why it is slightly more pricey than other spices. Besides being used as a seasoning, it is also used as a digestion aid, leading to weight loss and a herbal remedy to tummy cramps.
So What Does Cardamom Taste Like? (ALL Varieties)
Green and black cardamom have very different tastes, so it is not a good idea to substitute one with the other as they provide a totally different personality to the dishes.
Green cardamom is the finest and most fragrant of her partners. It is the most popular too.
- Black cardamom. It has a very strong flavor; you could say similar to mint but not the same. Others would tell you that black cardamom is a bit sweet with a smoky, earthly flavor. It’s best suited for savory dishes.
- Green cardamom. It has a citrus, herbal, a tinge of sweet flavor. It’s best suited for both savory and sweet dishes.
White cardamom’s spicy-sweet flavor is pretty diluted due to the bleaching process, so it is not really used in food. However, it is commonly used to season baked goods in Northern Europe.
How Do I Introduce Cardamom Into My Cooking?
Cardamom comes as seeds, pods, or powder.
If you want a bold flavor, you should start with using whole pods as ground cardamom is more subtle in its taste. To make the best of your whole pods, toast them over medium heat until your whole kitchen smells like a gourmet restaurant. Remember to take them out BEFORE serving!
Other dishes will want seeds, so simply break cardamom pods and crush them for the best flavor. You can do this manually (ouch, my hands!) or with an electric spice grinder. Always use a fairly small amount of freshly ground cardamom as it can overpower your other spices.
Cardamom goes well with other warm spices such as black peppercorns, cinnamon, cayenne, and much more. It pairs amazingly with red meat, poultry, sausages, lentils, oranges, rice, curries, teas, and baked goods.
Clearly, the list goes on!
Surprising Health Benefits Of Cardamom, Besides Its Taste!
Cardamom is rich in phytochemicals that provide the following benefits:
- Good for flu season! The spice improves blood circulation in the lungs and can be effective in treating cough and colds. It warms the whole being thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, allowing you to fight the nasty flu.
- Controls blood pressure. It helps to manage your blood pressure and maintain the health of the heart and kidneys.
- Oral health. Cardamom has the ability to deal with bad breath and other dental issues by eliminating certain bacteria. They can also help with cavities. You can chew cardamom pods if you’d like!
- Supports digestion. The fragrance and taste of cardamom ease digestion. Its mint-like nature helps settle an upset tummy, acidity, and gas. It is also said that cardamom is effective in treating ulcers.
- A natural detox. The spice expels waste through the kidney, helping to battle infections head-on and clean the urinary tract, urethra, and bladder. It does this by eliminating excess toxins and calcium.
- Manages your blood sugar. Black cardamom, in particular, helps treat high blood sugar levels. It has a high content of manganese, which assists with regulating the amount of sugar in the body.
- Weight loss. It boosts your energy and metabolism, which helps you lose weight faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the value of cardamom per kg?
Green cardamom is quite expensive, so watch how you use it!
You can find cardamom for about $90 per kg or $40 per pound. Yikes! Its harvesting process (that’s done by hand) makes this spice the third most expensive spice in the world, just after vanilla and saffron.
What are the benefits of cardamom tea?
Cardamom tea is a sweet-spicy tea that is used as a herbal remedy for almost everything. Tummy troubles? Cardamom tea. Down in the dumps? Cardamom tea.
This miracle tea works for weight loss, has antidepressant abilities, aids in digestion, is good for bad breath, and boosts your overall immune system.
What happens if we eat cardamom daily?
You can have your daily dose of cardamom, as long as it is in moderate amounts. The natural chemicals in cardamom have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can improve your health.
However, if you have cardamom in large quantities (more than 500 mg if you’re taking a supplement), it can lead to sudden allergic reactions. We sure don’t want this!
Does cardamom help you sleep?
Cardamom essential oil has a sweet and soothing aroma that can help you sleep better at night. It reduces restlessness and anxiety, making it perfect after a stressful day. A cup of cardamom tea can also help de-stress.