Skip to content
Home » News » Cardamom. Origin, what it is for, uses in cooking, benefits and where to buy it

Cardamom. Origin, what it is for, uses in cooking, benefits and where to buy it

Cardamom. Origin, what it is for, uses in cooking, benefits and where to buy it

Where are you from?

The origin of cardamom is in India. Its characteristic aroma: intense, sophisticated and fruity at the same time, transports you directly to somewhere in this country. The cardamom plant (Elettaria cardamomun) belongs to the ginger family and is traditionally grown in the jungles of southern India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Sumatra.

It is one of the most characteristic ingredients in the gastronomy of this Asian country, but its use has spread to other parts of the world, especially the Middle East, Nordic countries and even Central America. In fact, Guatemala is one of the main countries. in cardamom production and export, being considered of better quality than that of Asian origin.

Types of cardamom

There are different varieties of this ingredient. The most common and also the tastiest is the green one , but you can also find the black one , larger and bitter, or the white one , with a less intense flavor.

  • Green cardamom . Intense green color, elongated and small pod compared to other types of cardamom. Used to flavor liquid foods such as stews, broths, curries and sauces, as well as infusions and coffees. I have even seen it in some gin and tonic , and the truth is that with green cardamom it is very good. It is the most common and easiest to find.
  • Black cardamom . This type has a fresh, intense and smoky aroma. Its size is much larger than other cardamoms and it has a more intense flavor. It is best to have it grated or powdered and use it in moderation, as it is quite strong.
  • White cardamom . It is a byproduct provided after washing the green pod. It would be cardamom but it is not a type in itself, it is usually less intense than the previous two and is usually used to make flavored rice, soups, creams or to season salads, stir-fries and pasta dishes.

From the seed, very similar to a shelled pistachio, the spice is obtained that is later used in many recipes. A way to enhance the flavor of your recipes.

Uses in the kitchen

The uses of cardamom in cooking are many, and they are always linked to curry recipes to give that characteristic touch that transports you to its country of origin. However, its use varies greatly depending on the area where it is cooked, for example, in India it is used to flavor drinks, in addition to rice and curries.

  • In the Nordic countries it is mainly used in pastries , to make cookies, the famous flavor of the commercial donut (it is cardamom, don’t forget it), the traditional Swedish cardamom buns , bread, biscuits… In Sweden, for example, they usually have desserts with cardamom. in all bakeries and cafes, whole trays with cinnamon rolls , traditional cardamom buns , delicious Lenten butter buns or the famous Christmas buns of Saint Lucia . A not very light way to enjoy pastries, but very tasty and comforting.
  • In Central Europe, in countries like Germany, Austria or Hungary we will also find desserts with cardamom, the most traditional apple or pear strudels and their spiced wine or German Glühwein . In those lands it is very typical to find stalls selling spiced wine at Christmas markets, which is always served hot.
  • In the Middle East, what they do is grind it and mix it with coffee to enhance both aromas and thus make cardamom coffee , used as hospitality coffee.
  • In India and Pakistan it is present in most of their curries and curry pastes.
  • Guatemala, for its part, makes a chewing gum with an intense cardamom flavor.
  • Nora Alixan tells me by email that cardamom is a basic ingredient in Lebanese and Turkish cuisine. They use it mainly when cooking chicken, it is usually boiled with the chicken when making soup, it is added whole, giving a little blow so that it opens a little. And when they have it in powder form, it is usually used to make Shish taou -style chicken, or shawarma -style meat , but not a lot.

Nowadays it is much easier to find it in the markets, they are usually sold in pod or capsule form. It is, along with vanilla and saffron , the most expensive spice in the world.

Being a spice with a lot of aroma and flavor, it is advisable to use a very small amount, you always have time to add more, so it is best to buy cardamom in pods, and then extract the grain and grind only the amount that we are going to use in our preparations.

Benefits of cardamom. Residually it can present the following benefits

  • Antitumor influence. In a 2012 investigation by the University of Hai in Saudi Arabia, and published in the ‘Journal of Medicinal Food’, it was reported that this spice helped (combined with other ingredients) a small reduction in tumor incidence values ​​in the cumulative number of papillomas in mice, which had been administered 0.5 milligrams of cardamom powder. It is not a panacea, but taking cardamom regularly would indirectly help our body to achieve good health.
  • Preventive effect of colon cancer. Taking it regularly combined with other foods also stimulates apoptosis, the natural death of damaged cells.
  • Controls high blood pressure, stimulates appetite or relieves colic . According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN), cardamom.
  • In addition to being used to enhance the flavor of recipes, cardamom, like many other spices, also has medicinal properties, such as digestive or disinfectant properties in oral infections and even helps reduce lung congestion .

All of this in combination with other foods, ingredients or drugs. Do not think that by taking cardamom every day you will live to be 200 years old, nutritionally it does not help, it is a delicious spice that aromatizes and gives flavor, but its vitamin contribution is minimal.

Where to buy cardamom in Spain?

  • Many of you ask me where to buy cardamom. The truth is that a few years ago it was difficult to find it in supermarkets, but today, you have it in “El Corte Inglés”, “Carrefour”, “Alcampo” and other smaller supermarkets.
  • I have found it from the “Carmencita” brand at about €2.29 for 30 grams or the “Cocktelea natural cardamom” a little more expensive, at €4.90 for 40 grams. Both in grain, but you will also find it already ground.
  • If you do not have access to this type of establishment, you can always do it online in specialized stores. But where I usually buy it is on the Orballo website, €3.80 for about 36 grams. Or of course, in the giant Amazon, I leave it to your choice.

At home we love it and many recipes on the blog contain cardamom, one more way to help add flavor and make your dishes delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *