While I’ve been looking around for other things to make in the kitchen I came across cardamom pods. I had no idea how to cook with cardamom pods, so I went ahead and did some reading up on this.
So in answering the question how to cook with cardamom pods, this is what I found out. Before cooking with cardamom pods you need to grind them using a pestle and mortar. If you are making foods such as curries, simply add to your dish while cooking. The pod will dissolve during the cooking process. If you are using these to bake with, you want to just use the seeds and discard the pods.
So there it is. Your short answer on how to cook with cardamom pods. I did find more out about these, such as what to make with cardamom pods, what foods go well with them, and the benefits of eating them if you are interested in finding out more then read on.
How To Cook With Cardamom Pods
Cardamom pods come from a plant in the ginger family, native to south India. Whilst you can buy cardamom ready ground, it is best to buy the pods and grind yourself at home.
One reason for this is that ground seeds can lose their flavor, and seeing as buying pre-ground pods can mean they have been sitting around on a shelf for a while, it’s better to buy the real thing and grind them yourself.
Another reason for this is that buying these already ground is so much more expensive than buying the pods themselves.
There are two types of cardamum pods widely used. Green cardamom has a sweeter, less strong taste, whilst black cardamom had a much stronger, mint taste, close to menthol.
As cardamom pods come from the ginger family, they are often used for both cooking and baking.
If you are cooking with cardamom, it is perfectly fine to use both the seeds and the pods to flavor your food. The pod itself contains a number of seeds, and is very easy to grind. To do this, you can either use a pestle and mortar, or a grinding machine.
To do this simply follow the steps below:
- Put your cardamom pods in a mortar and crack them open using a pestle. ( A tablespoon of pods should give you roughly two teaspoons when ground).
- Pick out the shells of the pod, and either throw away if you don’t want to add them to your dish, or keep until you have crushed the seeds.
- Depending on the toughness of the seeds, you are either going to crush them in the mortar using the pestle, or add them to a simple spice grinder (a coffee grinder is also fine).
- Grind either way until you are left with a very fine powder.
- Your cardamom is now ready to add to whatever you are making. You can either add the powder on it’s own, or with the shell, which can be removed after cooking.
Once you have your ground cardamom, you are now ready to use this to cook, bake or make hot drinks with (I know right)! Cardamom lends itself well to Indian cooking, as it is one of the strongest spices. Simply adding a small amount as you are making a curry really adds some great flavors.
Basmati rice is often cooked with this too, as it gives it a really rich and vibrant flavor. As I said, if you are making a curry it is perfectly fine to add the shell, removing after if it hasn’t dissolved during the cooking process.
If you are using this for baking, you are definitely going to want to remove the shells before doing this. For starters, baking with these is not going to be great in terms of the texture and consistency of your food.
Secondly, the shell has a rather strong taste, and would not go down well with some of the more sweeter things you want to bake.
What To Make With Cardamom Pods
So when looking at how to cook with cardamom pods, they really lend themselves to Indian foods and all types of curries. The strong taste compliments most curry sauces, and also works well to flavor rices such as basmati rice. Some curry ideas could include:
- Chicken and Apricot Curry
- Lamb Dhansak
- Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
- Cardamom Butter Chicken Curry
- Cardamom Chicken Masala Murgh
Sweet Dishes And Baking
Whilst cardamom is used often in India for all kinds of savoury dishes, in Scandinavia it is very popular to use cardamom for baking. Many different sweet pastry and bread recipes include the use of this to add a strong flavor. Some sweet dish ideas on how to cook with cardamom pods could include
- Adding to Ice-Cream
- Rice Pudding with Cardamom
- Fruit Salads
- Breakfast Oats with Cardamom
- Cardamom Apple Pie or Crumble
- Pumpkin Pie with Cardamom
- Muffins and Cookies
- Banana Loaf
Cardamom In Drinks
In a number of Middle Eastern countries, cardamom is added to coffee to add a really rich taste. Serving a guest with coffee mixed with cardamom and cream is seen as a welcoming gesture. You can add this to both coffee and tea to really change the flavor.
I’ve actually tried this, and my favorite way to do this was to grind some of the seeds in my coffee grinder along with the beans before brewing my coffee.
Is Cardamom Good For You?
When researching how to cook with cardamom pods, I found that many people and cultures believe in the medicinal nature of cardamom. As far back as Ancient Greece and Rome it was used to aid in a number of ways and for a number of conditions.
The most popular school of thought is that cardamom is able to help people with digestive and stomach problems. It has also been used across a range of countries to treat:
- Halitosis and gum disease
- Breathing disorders such as asthma and bronchitis
- Water retention
Can Eating Cardamom Be Bad For You?
Like most things, there are also occasions when eating cardamom, or too much of it, can be bad for your health. There are some reported cases of people having allergic reactions to cardamom. This will most likely happen when too much of it has been consumed.
Allergic reactions in the form of skin conditions such as rashes and hives are known to be common forms of this.
Other reactions to over consumption of cardamom come in the more serious form of respiratory reactions. This can include
- Tight feeling and pains in the chest
- Soreness of throat
- Difficulty breathing
Over eating over a prolonged period of time has also been linked to gallstone problems. Here an over eating leads to digestive system to stop being able to absorb the cardamom. Over time this can lead to the formation of gallbladder stones.
Why is cardamom so expensive? Simply put, cardamom is so expensive because it absolutely needs to be harvested by hand. This is a time-consuming process, and thus cardamum is expensive. It is cheaper to buy the pods rather than buying ground cardamom.
How long do cardamom seeds last? Seeds stored in airtight containers can last for 3 to 4 years. Once ground it will begin to lose it’s flavor over time. It’s best only to grind as much as you need each time, and I prefer to buy pods and grind rather than buying it ready ground.
What can I use as a substitute for cardamom? Due to it’s strong and unique flavor, it is not easy to replicate this using other spices. If you don’t have any to hand, try a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Whilst not being exactly the same, this will give you a flavor pretty close to that of cardamom.
Can you eat cardamom raw? This is actually done regularly in some countries. Many people will chew this after meals to freshen their breath, and some chewing gum manufacturers even use this in their gum. In some countries people also chew this as an alternative to tobacco.