<-- Picture of Cardamom Pods
Cardamom is one of the world's very ancient spices. It is native to southern India and Sri Lanka. Its Hindi name is Elaichi. Today it also grows in Indo China, Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Tanzania. Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. The small, brown sticky seeds are contained in pods between 5-20 mm long.
Cardamom is stimulant, carminative, digestive. It is used mainly to treat colds, bronchitis, fevers, inflammatory conditions and liver complaints, however, there is no evidence to support any of these uses.
This is an expensive spice, second only to saffron. This spice has a floral flavor. It is used in curries, sweets, desserts, rice puddings and other rice dishes, milk, kheer, etc. The seeds can be chewed for good flavor in mouth and to get rid of bad breath. The pods can be used whole or split when cooked.
Benefits and Uses:
Cardamom contains calcium, potassium, vitamin-C, riboflavin, niacin,and magnesium. It is used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant and stimulant.
Buy whole dried cardamom pods, look for light green color. Keep the pods whole until use. Do not buy in powder form as it loses its flavor (discard the pod skin before grinding the seeds. You can add pod skin in making tea for a good flovored tea.).
If you don't have cardamom at hand, then use the following substitute:
Mix together equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon powder, and use in place of the cardamom. Although this substitute will not exactly repalce cardamom in flavor and taste.
Nutrition of cardamom Parameters
Value per 100g Moisture
229.000 K cal
Minerals & Trace Elements Magnesium
Source: National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad, India. www.ninindia.org
Tips for Storing & using Cardamom
Cardamom in powder form is available in market, but they lack in flavor. Buy and store cardamom in whole pod form, if possible. Grind or powder them in a grinder just prior to use because they rapidly lose their freshness and flavour once ground.