Since childhood, I have always seen the Queen of spices – Cardamoms being used in our household. Later as I was growing up, I learned that Cardamoms are found in almost every household not only in India but also around the world. Cardamom in rice pudding, cardamom in curry, and the pot of ‘masala’ tea that my mom would drink with aunts on rainy afternoons. I remember biting into a cardamom pod and the avalanche of flavors that would ensue – flowers, pepper, citrus – their intensity and warmth comforting me wholly. Cardamom also played an important role when I was sick. It was common for spices to be mixed with honey and ginger, or basil to cure colds and stomach aches.
Known as the Queen Of Spices, Cardamoms can be found in savory and sweet dishes, as well as coffee and desserts. The spice is typically used in dishes from South Asia and the Middle East, but can also be found in Scandinavian food. This aromatic spice adds a beautiful floral yet sweet and peppery flavor to our dishes.
Cardamom comes in two varieties – Green & Black. Most of the time the green cardamoms are used to prepare a variety of dishes and tea as it has a more sophisticated and mellow-down flavor, whereas since the black cardamoms are slightly minty and/or smoky; the black cardamoms are mostly used in preparing biryanis or any heavy gravy dishes. Each little pod of cardamom contains about 10-15 tiny black aromatic seeds because it is in those seeds that the aroma lies.
The best way to take advantage of cardamom is by the ground as soon as you need it. You should be grinding pods and seeds that you will use right away or freeze them in a sealed container. This will ensure that the flavors are still fresh. Cardamom can be bought whole or ground, but it is most flavorful when it is ground in-house. One way to do this is to smash the pods and remove the seeds. Smash them again, put them in a mortar and pestle with a little water, then grind on high speed in a blender or coffee grinder. One thing to remember is not to expose the seeds to air for a long time as they will start losing their aromatic appeal rapidly.
If you are grinding or smashing the cardamoms, make sure to store them in an airtight container so that their flavor remains for a long time. If you are grinding a small number of cardamoms for maybe tea or any other dish of the day, I would suggest you can use the mortar and the pestle; that way your dish gets the required aroma and flavor and there is no stress or worry to store the cardamom powder for a longer time.
If you are looking to buy fresh, aromatic, and organic cardamoms, do visit our website www.hiddenflavours.in and buy the Queen of Spices and get it delivered to your doorstep.
Stay tuned for more posts coming up!