What are Green Cardamom Pods?
Green cardamom pods originate from plants that are indigenous to the southeastern parts of Asia and India. Over time, this delicate spice made its way to the West but is often still underutilized in cooking. However, cooking with unfamiliar spices is the ideal way to sample global flavors. Using the green cardamom pod in cooking is also an excellent reason to access your sense of adventure by trying something new.
But what are green cardamom pods, what do they taste like, and are there any substitutes? Here’s where you can learn about this uniquely flavored spice and how to add flavor to simple meals. Green cardamom grows lusciously in higher altitudes, so it is a popular crop in the mountainous regions of Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Laos, and India. However, this crop has long been grown in Guatemala since being brought to this country by the Germans in the early twentieth century.
Like Arabica coffee, green cardamom plants thrive in mountainous regions, so Guatemala is a significant exporter of both products. However, despite cardamom thriving in this country, Guatemalans do not use this spice much.
What are green cardamom pods?
Green cardamom pods are actually part of ginger family.Elettaria cardamomum as these pods are often called are one of the worlds oldest spices. Most cardamom pods are cultivated in countries like Southern India, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala. These pods bring a citrusy, intense flavor to any dish. Each pod is a combination of a triangular outer shell containing seed clusters arranged in a spindle shape, containing anywhere from eight to 16 seeds with a brownish hue. These seeds can be removed and ground to powder, or the pod can be used whole. Green cardamom pods have a flowery, citrusy flavor and can be ground to use in coffee, rice, and poultry. Some cooks prefer to lightly roast the pods before adding them to a dish, but they are just as tasty in their original dried form. When stored in a tightly sealed container, green cardamom pods will last for a year or longer. Cardamom is one of the most expensive and prized spices in the world next to saffron. It is a staple in the Middle Eastern and Scandinavian diet, but has become a popular ingredient worldwide.
Differences between green and black cardamom pods
There are two primary varieties of cardamom—black and green. Green cardamom pods have a powerful aroma and flavor and are smaller than black cardamom pods. Though it's one of the most expensive spices, you can typically find green cardamom in your local stores. Black cardamom pods are cheaper than green cardamom pods but aren't as popular. They usually are larger in size and have a dark and smoky flavor. Additional cardamom pod types include the yellow and white sub-varieties.
The flavor of cardamom
Cardamom shares similar characteristics to the ginger
and turmeric species, of which it is a family member. Despite this connection, the cardamom flavor is unlike either of these spices. Green cardamom has a uniquely strong flavor and aroma. Some people describe it as having a taste that is similar to menthol, pine, or fruits. Likewise, black cardamom has a flavor similar to camphor with smoky undertones. Black cardamom further emits a cooling effect like that of mint.While you can use the green cardamom as whole pods or seeds, only the black cardamom seeds are suitable for cooking. The taste of both these cardamom varieties is quite intense so use them sparingly in cooking to avoid an unpleasant acid flavor.
Don't have cardamom spice in the kitchen cupboard? No problem! You can substitute this distinctively flavored spice with either nutmeg
Uses in cooking
Even though green cardamom pods have an unusual flavor, they add a delicious nuance to most dishes in the kitchen. You can use cardamom in sweet and savory dishes and add it to beverages.
If you haven’t yet tried green cardamom pods in your food, here are several tips for experimentation:
- Add whole green cardamom pods to meat or poultry dishes
- Crush the cardamom pods and add this spice to improve the taste of the rice
- Include this spice in a vegetarian curry with chickpeas as the hero ingredient
- Indulge in a delicious kulfi which is an Asian ice cream dish, but add ground green cardamom pods and pistachio nuts
- Because cardamom is one of the core spices in chai mixes, it perfectly complements many beverages such as tea. You can make your own masala chai or latte chai or even enhance the flavor of your next cup of coffee
- Another use for green cardamom is adding it to vegetable dishes like potatoes or sweet potatoes
Essentially, you can buy green cardamom pods to flavor any food. So permit yourself to play with this spice. Also, when buying green cardamom pods, look past the price as you only need a small amount to flavor your food, making them last a long time. Slofoodgroup Green cardamom pods are freshly harvested in Guatemala and prepared ready for use in all your favorite recipes