There are 3 types of cardamom; green, white, and black. Below describes green.
Taste: Sweet, mild, floral, with a faint citrus note. Often referred to as the “vanilla of India”.
Look: Bright green clover shaped pods.
Smell: Warm, sweet, intense camphor-like aroma.
- Use in desserts like custards, ice creams (like kulfi), and cakes.
Flavor meat curries like goat and lab.
Use in chai and coffees.
Pairs well with caraway, cinnamon, cumin, dill, mustard, and fennel seed.
- The pods themselves are inedible. It is the seed inside that is ground and used. You can use the pods to boil in liquids like tea.
- When you see the ground cardamom in the store, it has lost a lot of its aromatic volatility. Best to buy the unground brown seeds which are found inside the green pod. Green pods can only be found in an Indian grocery store.
- If you are buying already ground, look for a fairly dark brown colored powder. If light gray in color it is ground from the whole pod and is of lesser quality.
- It is the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. Buy in small quantities to make sure that the pods stay fresh (should remain green in color. Once they are yellowed they are not as fresh).
- Soothes the stomach.
- Mouth freshener.
- Reduces coughs, toothaches, and headaches.
- Strengthens the heart and is a stimulant.
- Clears mucous, cough, and congestion.
Disclaimer: The sole purpose of the Health Benefits section of our spice pantry is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.