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How do you use Cardamom pods in cooking

Known as the queen of Indian spices, this aromatic citrusy green cardamom pods bring a magical essence to any dish it is added to. Learn how to use cardamom pods to immediately transform your dish. 

Green cardamom spice is perhaps one of my most favourite spices especially if I am looking to lift flavours instantaneously.

It is one of the most expensive spices in the world, next to saffron, so you know you are dealing with something amazing here.

Surprisingly is it a common spice, used extensively in the Indian, Middle Eastern and Scandinavian countries.

The initial production of green cardamom pods was in Southern India, however, they are now popularly grown in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Guatemala to name a few countries.

Each green cardamom pods contains a row of small black seeds that can be removed and ground to powder.

There are three different kinds of cardamoms used for cooking. These are green cardamom. black cardamom and Madagascar cardamom which is almost the same as black cardamom but slightly lighter or brown in colour.

Lets look at how you can use these little flavour bombs to enhance your dishes.

What Is Green Cardamom Called in Other Languages

English – Green Cardamom pods

Green cardamom in Hindi -Elaichi or choti elaichi

Green cardamom in German – Kardamom

Green cardamom in French –  Cardamome

Green cardamom in Spanish – Cardamomo

What Does Green Cardamom Taste Like?

Green cardamom is an aromatic spice and does more than just flavouring.

Depending on the type or quality of cardamom you use, it has a semi-mild to strong flavour which becomes pronounced if used in larger quantity.

You can smell and taste the spice when added to a dish. It has a very fresh citrusy undertone with hints of eucalyptus.

It has a strong, unique spicy-sweet taste which instantly lifts the flavour of the dishes it is used in.

How to Use Green Cardamon Pods for Cooking?

There are 3 types of green cardamom that you can buy commercially from a store.

They are:

  1. Green cardamom pods
  2. Cardamom seeds
  3. Ground cardamom or cardamom powder.

Depending on the type of cardamom you buy or have the cardamom uses for cooking may also differentiate.

Below are cooking suggestions on how to use cardamom for making different types of dishes.

Use of whole cardamom pods

Grun Kardamom green cardamom pods indian spice buy spices online switzerland
Whole green cardamom pods

Whole cardamom pods are perhaps the most mildest of the 3 types of cardamom use for cooking.

They are used whole in oil or warm liquid such as broth or soups.

They are added right at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the dish with a pleasant aromatic flavour.

You can easily remove the pods from the dish before serving if you do not wish to have a whole pod in your mouth.

Use of cardamom seeds

Green cardamom seeds

The 2nd type of green cardamom are the once you can buy in seeds form. It is the seeds that contains the maximum fragrant oil that lends the spice the aroma.

The use of the seeds is similar to that of the pods, that is it can be used at the beginning of cooking to a hot liquid be it oil or any other liquid.

The difference between cardamon seeds Vs Pods is that, in a whole cardamom the seeds are inside the pods which makes it mild to taste unless the pods are cracked open to reveal the seeds.

While the seeds are the individual seeds similar to say any spice seeds without the covering.

Few points to note when cooking with cardamom seeds are that since the seeds are not very tiny they may come into your mouth if not crushed smaller.

The other point is that the seeds tend to loose their fragrance and potency slightly faster as they are already exposed and outside the pod.

Use of cardamom powder

If you are have ground cardamom or green cardamom powder then the ideal way to get most of the flavour is to add it during or in the middle of the cooking process.

A small pinch or two of green cardamom powder goes a long way so you do not need a lot of it.

However do keep in mind that since it a ground form of spice it will also start to loose the freshness of the aroma quickly if not stored properly.

Other cooking uses of cardamom

Whichever type of cardamom you use the versatility and aromatic taste of the spice makes it an idea spice to add to both savoury and sweet dishes.

Below are few recommendations on the uses of cardamom for cooking

  1. Add whole cardamom pods or seeds to rice dishes, or whole grains such as lentils, taboule, cous cous etc.
  2. Add cardamom powder to smoothies, soups, stir-fries, oatmeal, pancakes etc.
  3. Add to cakes, drinks or desserts
  4. Add to curries, stews, broths or any sauce based dish.

How to grind whole cardamom pods

If you have cardamom pods you can split open the pods and grind them to powder in a mortar and pestle while discarding the green outer cover.

The neutral flavoured green papery cover grinds well too, so I do not bother discarding it but use the whole pod and grind it into powder.

The other option is to use it whole with the seeds intact or only the cardamom seeds.

It adds to the aroma of the dish.


Difference Between Green Cardamom and Black Cardamom

Another cardamom that is extensively in Indian cuisine is Black cardamom pods sometimes also referred to as brown cardamom.

Although they are called cardamom, green and black cardamom are completely different to look, in taste and in some way cooking use too.

You can read all about the difference between green cardamom and black cardamom here

Benefits of  Green Cardamom

Like most spices adding these small cardamom pods does not alone add flavour but has other health benefits too.

I have highlighted the top benefits of using Green Cardamom to everyday cooking, but there are many more advantages. 

Aids digestion and counteract flatulence 

Cardamom is good for curing stomach problems like indigestion, gas and constipation. The strong aroma enables the secretion of enzymes effective for digestion especially if consumed after heavy meals.

Prevents bad breath

Munching on cardamom helps fights bacteria that cause bad breath. The strong floral sweet aroma of green cardamon is a natural breath freshener.

Detoxifies Body 

Green cardamom has diuretic properties. It helps clean out the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys, removing waste, salt, excess water and toxins from the body.

Assists in Weight Loss

Green cardamom is a fibrous spice. It helps boosts energy metabolism and burn more body fat efficiently.

Where and How to Buy Best  Green Cardamom?

Since it is a common and a popular spice, you can buy green cardamon from any supermarket.

I would recommend buying the spice whole and use a mortar and pestle to ground it into powder when needed.

But of course there is no harm in buying green cardamom powder.

Look for small and bright green cardamoms. They have a fresh and stronger flavour compared to the pale once.

Since it is an aromatic spice it needs to be well stored in an airtight container away from light and heat.

If stored correctly green cardamoms will retain its properties for almost a year.

You can also buy them from my recommended online store for fresh aromatic cardamom pods, seeds and powder

Discover the world of flavors at TheSpiceHouse.com.

Best Food and Spice matching

Cardamom is a sweet spice which means that it combines well with almost any spice.

Best food pairing:  Rice, legumes, lentils, all vegetables, red meat, chicken, marinades, soups, stews and curries

Best spice pairing:  Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, black cardamom

What is the Best Green Cardamom Substitute?

Being an aromatic spice, it can be substituted with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, or even kafir lime leaves. 

Easy Recipes with Green Cardamom to Try

Egg Curry Recipe Step wise process

Egg Curry in Cashew Gravy 

Fish korma recipe

Easy Fish Korma

cranberry chicken curry recipe

Spicy Cranberry Chicken Curry

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6 thoughts on “How do you use Cardamom pods in cooking”

  1. OooOOO I like this, I’ve been wanting to try new foods whenever we go to specialty marts! Ill have to try this out!

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