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What is Cardamom Spice?

Cardamom Spice


Aromatic, warm, spicy, and sweet, cardamom is a complex spice that is used throughout Indian and Swedish cuisine.

What does cardamom taste like?

Cardamom comes in two well-known varieties, green and black.

Green cardamom is known as aromatic, warm, spicy, and sweet with flavors of lemon and mint.

On the other hand, black cardamom has a strong smokey flavor as it is dried over fire, with a note of menthol.

Where does cardamom come from?

Native to India, cardamom is a member of the ginger family. 

Derived from the seed pod of the cardamom plant, there are two main types of cardamom, green, elettaria cardamom, and black, amomum subulatum. 

Cardamom Uses

Black cardamom has a smoky note and is therefore better suited to savory dishes. 

Whilst green cardamom is suitable for both savory and sweet with warming soothing qualities. 

The spice has differing uses throughout the world, popular in South Asian cooking such as curries and Scandanavian baking and desserts.

Toast cracked cardamom pods at the beginning of cooking to draw out more flavor. Whereas in liquid recipes such as soups and syrups, the cardamom pods are infused whole then removed before serving. 

Cardamom is often used for stews and curries, as well as in teas, rice, chocolate, liquors, cakes, biscuits, pastries, pulses, coffee, and pickling.

Cardamom Substitutes 

  • Nutmeg: the sweet warming spice within nutmeg is similar to that of cardamom.
  • Cinnamon: cinnamon can substitute in sweet and savory recipes providing sweet and woody characteristics. 
  • Cinnamon and cloves: due to cardamom’s complexity a combination of spices can most closely replicate the single spice. Cardamom and clove mirror flavors of sweet, spice, and woody.

Cardamom Compliments and Pairings 

The warming spice of cardamom can be paired with sweet, spicy, and savory ingredients including vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, walnut, poultry, fish, rice, pulses, lemon, apricot, plum, apple, carrot, and almond.

Cardamom Expiration and Storage

  • Pod: more potent than ground, store in an airtight container away from direct light and moisture for up to two years.
  • Ground: store in an airtight container away from direct light and moisture for up to six months.

Fun Facts About Cardamom

  • The world’s third most expensive spice by weight, behind vanilla and saffron.
  • Cardamom is both an herb and spice, used as a herbal medicine and spice within cooking.

Popular Cardamom Recipes

  • Eggnog
  • Chai latte
  • Mahalabia
  • Basmati rice
  • Finnish nissua
  • Turkish coffee
  • Jin jin braised beef
  • Cardamom chicken curry
  • Cardamom maple salmon
  • Chocolate cardamom cake
  • Vanilla cardamom madeleines

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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