Sprinkled over kheer and sweets or chewed like a mouth freshner, cardamom or elaichi as its better known in India, is a spice and flavouring agent that we just can’t do without.
Cardamom is one of the world's very ancient spices. Known as "the Queen of Spices", it is the fruit of a large perennial bush that grows wild in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in Southern India.
Cardamoms are used for its pods. Available in three kinds – black, green and white, cardamoms give a distinct sweet, pleasing and slightly lemon like flavour. Traditionally, Indian cooking uses only black and green cardamoms. Green cardamom is smaller and softer than black cardamom. The seeds are used as whole, ground or with pods.
Cardamom pods contain fragrant seeds, used throughout the world in both savory and sweet dish. Many Indian meat, rice and dessert dishes use cardamom as one of the main spices. Cardamoms are also essential parts of spice mixtures such as Garam Masala. Cardamom is also believed to aid digestion and act as a breath freshener.
Beside India and south Asia, cardamom is also use in Scandinavian food such cakes, pastry, pickles and also used in Middle East.
by Chandana Banerjee