Cardamom is a very important spice used in the Indian kitchen from savory dishes like Biryani to sweet dishes like Kheer/Pudding. It is called Elaichi in Hindi and has several different names in all other languages in India. There is a white type of cardamom used in some Indonesian islands as well.
There are two main types of cardamom used:
- Green Cardamom – It is one of the most expensive spices by weight but very little is needed for the flavor.
- Black Cardamom – has a distintly smoky but not bitter aroma. It is not used for desserts but more often for rich curries and biryani.
These are best stored in air tight container inside the pods. The exposed or ground seeds quickly lose their flavor. Powdered packets are generally low in cost as they too lose their flavor soon. To use this spice in a dish it is best to prick the pod and take the seeds out, you can always smash the seeds using a pestle mortar. The shell/pod without the seeds can be saved for using them in tea and strained out before serving.
Recipe using Cardamom – Cranberry Kheema Biryani