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What's with Cardamom?

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Is it my imagination, or is it showing up in everything?

Any general suggestions for how to think about using or buying it?

And where is the search function on this new chowhound format?

Found it.

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  1. I'm not aware that it's "showing up in everything" but it's one of my favorite spices. If it is becoming more popular, it might be because it's one of the spices that works really well in either sweet or savory dishes, and using savory elements in sweet dishes (or traditionally sweet preparations) is very trendy right now.

    As for using it, it works well as either a primary flavor or in a spice blend. It can be bought either pre-ground or in pods that contain little black seeds you can steep whole or crush or grind yourself. I suppose if I were going to "think about using it" then I'd think of it the same way you think of cinnamon. Not that they taste anything like each other, but you can use it ground, steep it in a liquid (like a cinnamon stick) etc. And since now you've prompted me to think about it, I'm thinking that it might be interesting to try substituting it for cinnamon.

    1. It's kind of funny you posted this, because I was searching cardamom today on chow and the internet in general. I plan on buying some to make some chai tea at home, but I wanted to know what else I could use it for.

      5 Replies
      1. re: staub

        You can substitute it for cinnamon and make "cardamom toast." It is often found in Swedish cookies. Green and black cardamom are used in Indian savory foods.

        1. re: PAO

          After I replied above I got out a recipe for cinnamon tea cake that I'm going to try with cardamom instead.

          The LA Times had a recipe for Meyer Lemon cardamom ice cream that sounded good but I thought the finished product the flavors were too mutes (it had a really high-fat base). At the custard stage, though I was incredibly delicious -- I'd definitely make just the custard and use it as a sauce!

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Just wanted to report back that I tried the recipe with the cardamom and it's delicious.

            Here's the recipe: http://buttersugarflour.com/2007/11/c... I substituted cardamom one-for-one with the cinnamon but otherwise made it exactly as described. BTW, this photo shows a very thin cake, but mine was nice and fluffy -- fluffier than the first time I made it, I think because I really beat the butter/sugar/egg mixture until it was fluffy.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              yum. i actually love cinnamon and cardamom together, so i'd probably do a 50/50 split, or maybe use just cardamom in the batter and cinnamon for the topping.

        2. re: staub

          I like it in anything that would taste good with ginger or black pepper, since to me cardamom has flavors of both. It's good in plain baked goods when you want to add a little flair easily, like sugar cookies or pound cake. Cardamom ginger is a popular combination as well.

          The easiest use I have is a pinch in the bottom of my french press when I make black coffee.

        3. I am now chewing gum that is flavored with cardamon.

          6 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I have the same gum, and it's yummy. My students hate it, which means they're not always pestering me to share. Bonus! :)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              What brand, and where do you get it?

              1. re: buttertart

                Eclipse

                I get mine at Smart & Final, but Amazon has them ... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002...

                 
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Must get some of that, sounds great. Amazon copywrighter gets a little carried away...
                  QUOTE:
                  "The Eclipse Breeze Gum contains an ingredient called cardamom, which sounds less like an ingredient and more like a dancehall reggae artist."

                  1. re: buttertart

                    "Must get some of that, sounds great. Amazon copywrighter gets a little carried away...
                    QUOTE:
                    "The Eclipse Breeze Gum contains an ingredient called cardamom, which sounds less like an ingredient and more like a dancehall reggae artist."

                    ________________________________________________________

                    Carried away? Or maybe just food ignorant?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      The latter.

            2. - buying: if possible, buy the whole fresh pods and grind the seeds as you need them.
              - using: sparingly. it's a pretty potent, floral flavor that can easily overwhelm. having said that, when used properly it's one of my favorite spices. chai is pretty standard, it's also terrific in spice cake, gingerbread and the like. and i LOVE it with figs - i add it to my almond-fig muffins. it's a great addition to recipes that call for five-spice powder or any of its elements (pepper, anise, etc), and as already mentioned, cinnamon. it also works well with lime & honey.

              inspiration here:
              http://cardamomaddict.blogspot.com/

              and if you Google, there are tons of ways to go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                i forgot to mention cardamom with pistachios - a classic pairing. try a cardamom-yogurt cake with pistachios, topped with a lime glaze...or chocolate ganache. dee-lish!

              2. Yesterday I had one of the best ice creams ever. Cardamom with chopped pistachios & almonds. It made me wish I had ordered the large instead of the mini.... I know I'll be making it at home!

                1. When I was in Seattle, a coffee house served a delectable cardamom coffeecake, so subtle tasting. I, too, would pair it with some cinnamon and perhaps some lemon peel in such a preparation.

                  1. I've wanted to make these chocolate-dipped lime cardamom cookies since I first saw this recipe a few weeks back.
                    http://www.evilshenanigans.com/2010/0...

                    Several recipes on evil shenanigans feature cardamom. You can search the site for more ideas--including cakes and puddings.

                    1. Cardamon stirred into rice pudding is delicious.
                      Smitten Kitchen has an adapted pear bread recipe and recently I sub'd cinnamon for cardamon and wow what a great flavor.
                      Which led me to roasted pears with cardamon & vanilla bean over ice cream...and raves from the family.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        Alton Brown has an amazing "Indian-Style Rice Pudding" made with coconut milk and cardamom -I'd post a link, but I'm on my mobile. A search on the Food Network site should turn it up, or if anyone's interested I can post a link when I don't have to type with my thumbs.

                        1. re: darklyglimmer

                          done.

                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Excellent, thanks to you both!

                            1. re: HillJ

                              that recipe looks v good but i think it has way too little cardamom.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                oc, If I remember correctly I adjusted by adding pods to the liquid and then freshly ground powder at the end. But, I like a light hand or it overtakes the rest of the flavors.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  agreed - if you go too heavy on the cardamom, it's all you taste...and if you make that mistake you can't remove the powder once it's in there. much better to steep a few crushed pods in the liquid, and then adjust to taste with powder toward the end if you need more.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Thanks, GHG!

                              1. re: darklyglimmer

                                any time :)

                          2. re: HillJ

                            I was also going to say that rice pudding is fab when made with a few cardamom pods dropped in and cooked along with the rice. Only problem is finding them and removing them prior to serving. Not very appealing biting into one when you were expecting rice pudding.

                            I've been addicted to this rice pudding (made with 1% or 2% milk and basmati rice). It's also great with some orange zest stirred in.

                            The late, great, Ismail Merchant, partner in Merchant and Ivory films wrote a terrific cookbook in the early 90s. He's dead now, but I still use his cookbook regularly. It's now covered with splatters and the spine is about to give way. Merchant's rice pudding (Kheer) is pretty simple and quite delicious.

                            1/4 cup raw rice (He doesn't specify type but I assume it's basmati)
                            5 cups milk
                            2 green cardamom pods, split
                            1 Tbsp. chopped almonds
                            2 or 3 strands saffron
                            1 Tblsp. sugar, or to taste - I use more and taste til it seems right.

                            Wash the rice 3 or 4 times and add to milk in a saucepan along with the cardamoms, almonds and saffron. Simmer for 2 or 3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly. He says to keep mixing the skin that forms on top of the milk into the pudding as it cooks. Remove pan from heat, stir in the sugar and serve.

                            I like sweeter rice pudding and put in more sugar. I also don't much like saffron and often leave it out if it's just the 2 of us.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              oakjoan, I typically steep the pods in the milk and strain as a first step.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                That is a v good book indeed.

                            2. Agree w/ all the suggestions here. and, yes, a little goes a long way.
                              Ottolenghi has a wonderful pistachio shortbread recipe that includes a bit of cardamom; I made a batch this morning, and the perfume is intoxicating.
                              Cardomom ice cream is delicious. As is cardamom coffee cake. Cardamom is delicious w/apples, pears, peaches. I add a bit to banana bread/muffins.
                              It's used in a lot of Indian food, of course, and it's good in spice rubs for pork, lamb, poultry, or mixed w/butter and tossed w/carrots or baked squash. Or you can use it to scent rice. Cardamom simple syrup can be used in drinks or drizzled over tarte tatin or fresh fruit.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                All very tasty ideas, but I'm especially drawn to cardamom simple syrup. That will be fun for drink experimentation. Also never thought to toss with carrots, but I have a nice candied carrots recipe from an old neighbor that would benefit from adding this spice. Mmmm!

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  I make simple syrup out of just about everything--and end up throwing a lot of it out just b/c I can't use it all! But it's so nice to have on hand. The cardamom simple syrup, I love. I like to make a "cardamom ale" instead of ginger ale w/a nice squeeze of lime and a mint or basil sprig. For a cocktail, add vodka or gin. But you just gave me an idea for quickie "candied" carrots--a little syrup in the skillet w/the carrots and some butter.

                                  Oh, and another thing I love, mashed sweet potatoes w/cardamom butter. Yum.

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    Thank you--I will DEFINITELY try cardamom ale. That sounds so fantastic and refreshing, not to mention a great cocktail base. And, yeah, even when I make just 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water, I never use all the simple syrup I make, unfortunately.

                                    Re the "candied" carrots, my old neighbor would steam the carrots with golden raisins and diced apricots, then toss with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Do you think the cinnamon would compete with the cardamom and s/b replaced? I know Ruth touched on this briefly upthread.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      Those carrots sound wonderful--I might try w/just the cardamom first, then maybe add a little cinnamon and taste. I've definitely used cardamom and cinnamon in the same recipe; Indian recipes sometimes call for both, but of course they're usually part of a more complex mix of spices.

                                  2. re: kattyeyes

                                    Cardamom simple syrup is really really good. I use that to make lemonade (and then I get carried away and add ginger, a couple of bruised black peppercorns, and mint also) :)

                                    I really love cardamom in sweets/cakes etc. and I am always tempted to sub cardamom instead of cinnamon in recipes that call for the latter.

                                    If you like the cardamom and carrots combination you may like carrot halwa (shredded carrots cooked to mush with milk, flavoured with cardamom, lots of sugar, and add raisins and cashews, mix in some cream at the end). The milk should all be evaporated at the end.

                                    I wish my kids liked cardamom. They can't get beyond chocolate and vanilla >:(

                                  3. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    Oh, I realize that this entry will probably never be read, since I'm posting on the last day of December and the thread's from September...but I just had to second nomadchowwoman's kudos for Ottolenghi's PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD. I just made it for the first time last week and it was a GIGANTIC hit with my husband's co-workers at the office. It's totally wonderful. The recipe is in Ottolenghi's first book. I'd be glad to paraphrase if anyone sees this post and is interested.

                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                      Ooo, I'm interested, though I'll have to sub out the gluten...

                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                        I'm still reading! I love this thread, and whenever cardamom is mentioned on TV, I treat it sort of like one of those drinking games. Not the drinking part though....

                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                          oakjoan - Good to know, thanks!

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            yes please! amyzan & i can both work the GF angle :)

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              Inspiring oakjoan! The recipe can be found at: http://relentlessabundance.wordpress....

                                              1. re: CocoTO

                                                thanks for posting!

                                                @amyzan, i'm thinking a blend of sweet rice flour, cornstarch (or potato) & tapioca would work very well here...

                                          2. Cardamom is used a lot in Indian cooking, both in savory and sweet items. It tends to have a background role in savory, and more noticeable when used in sweets. Sometimes the sweet Middle-Eastern coffee is flavored with cardamom. In Western cooking it is best know for its use in Scandinavian sweet baked items.

                                            If seems to be more common now, it may be because it is a prominent part of 'chai' seasoning (derivatives of the Indian spiced tea).

                                            1. Thanks all! I'm going to see if I can still work it into today's baby back rib rub!

                                              1. I adore cardamom. The least expensive and often the freshest way to buy it is at Indian grocers. It usually comes in plastic bags, and you have to get the seeds out of the pods yourself, but this is no trouble at all. Just whack a pod of two with your pestle, then grind the seeds by hand. It takes a few seconds to do this. The preground kind is very expensive and unless you're buying from a store that sells a lot of it, it will be overpriced and not very fresh. However, I do keep some ground cardamom on hand for when I want a mellower flavor. It's great in shortbread, oatmeal, curries, and sprinkled with cinnamom and turbinado sugar on sliced apples for a low-fat dessert.

                                                1. If you're making drip coffee, adding a bit to the coffee grinds is nice. I do the same thing with cinnamon.

                                                  I've made Cardamom Cinnamon Rolls that are very tasty.

                                                  I haven't noticed an increase in popularity, but I like it.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pescatarian

                                                    pescatarian:

                                                    We used to add cinnamon to coffee in college when we couldn't afford good coffee. I can't abide it now because of that memory. I'll have to try coffee with cardamom, though.

                                                  2. I adore cardamom, and was vigorously nodding my head at all these replies! I had to add one of my favorites - cardamom with pears.

                                                    Oh, here's a fun usage - krupnikas! This was a hit for gifts last winter, and right now is the time to start it. It really improves with sitting. http://news.holidash.com/2008/11/20/k...

                                                    1. If you buy the whole pods, put a few of them in the pot when you are cooking rice to make ordinary rice nicely fragrant. If you just use cardamom and other spices like cinnamon and coriander you can still go either sweet (rice pudding) or savory, or go all out with cumin seed, and red and black pepper if you are sure you want it savory.

                                                      1. For desi cookng, cardamom is hardly a new trend, it's been around forever. My question is why has it been so slow to catch on in the West (other than in some Scandinavian dishes)?

                                                        Please make sure and distinguish between green cardamom (small greenish or whitish pods) and black cardamom (large, black pods). They taste different and can't just substitute for one another. Black cardamom is more used in savory cooking and green more in sweet (in Indian food).

                                                        Green cardamom only please for masala chai, or ice cream, or kheer, halwa, or such things !.

                                                        Black cardamom for garam masala (though you can sub green), some savory rice dishes (biryani) etc.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                          I'd love it if you have the patience to say more. Two different seeds? Different age? Different preserving?

                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                            From google:

                                                            Black cardamom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_ca...

                                                            Cardamom (on both types): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamom

                                                            Lots of pictures and just about everything you might want to know. Yes they are different seeds, and also different methods of drying.

                                                            HTH

                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                              Ahhh! so it looks like green is what is usually being referred to.

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                Yes, most recipes from the Western world use cardamom powder, which is made from the green kind.

                                                          2. re: Rasam

                                                            The Vikings brought cardamom back from the Indies to Scandinavia many centuries ago.

                                                          3. It is certainly a trendy spice right now. Who knows how these things get started? Combination of chefs, magazine editors, and shifting cultural sands.

                                                            Just last night I made this cardamom chicken dish from Saveur (by cookbook author Monica Bhide) and it was excellent. It uses both green and black cardamom (whole pods).

                                                            http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                            Pet-peeve: people who pronounce it "cardamon", and there are plenty of those types out there.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: bella_sarda

                                                              Those people include spice houses. My cardamom says cardamon on the pkg.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Maybe the spelling is being influenced by "cinnamon."

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  maybe.

                                                              2. re: bella_sarda

                                                                Regarding your pet-peeve:
                                                                The dictionary (American Heritage) has 'also car-da-mon'.
                                                                The etymology goes back through
                                                                Latin - cardamomum
                                                                Greek - kardamomon - kardamon

                                                                I suspect there are good linguistic explanations for why 'those types' use 'n' instead of 'm', and why it doesn't matter much.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  Thanks, and mea culpa. I'm sure it will continue to annoy me anyway!

                                                                2. re: bella_sarda

                                                                  I HATE those people!

                                                                  jk!

                                                                3. One of the best tasting pineapple upside down cakes I ever had, had cardamom in it. I think it was a recipe from Gourmet magazinde (RIP).

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: sparkareno

                                                                    Second that rec. It is a really delicious cake. Hard to resist finishing it in one sitting. Do pay heed to reviews regarding the amount of cardamom to use - especially if you're grinding from seeds. The recipe is on epicurious:
                                                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                  2. One of my all-time favorite recipes is for cranberry sauce with a little ground cardamom, ginger, orange juice and maple syrup. Everyone who tries it loves it and wants to know the 'secret' spice! yumm. My husband just brought me some cardamom pods back from India - can't wait to try some of these sugggestions.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: acecil

                                                                      Sounds like the perfect way to experiment! Green? Black? Got a link?

                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                        No link - the recipe is in my head, although I learned it from an old Moosewood restaurant cookbook: 2 bag of fresh cranberries, about 1/2 c maple syrup, about 1/2 c fresh orange juice and 1tbs grated orange rind, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, tiny dash of cinnamon - simmer all together just until berries pop, serve warm or cold. I've never had whole pods before, so not sure whether green or black would be a better substitute for the ground. I love this post - I'm learning a lot!

                                                                        1. re: acecil

                                                                          I like to make a cranberry sauce along that line - pushing the Indian chutney flavors even further (more ginger, even garlic and chile).

                                                                          1. re: acecil

                                                                            I just found this thread because I wanted some ideas for using up the cardamom that I recently bought for making this cranberry sauce recipe -- we make it every year for Thanksgiving, it's great. I got it from *Sundays at Moosewood*, in the Finland section (next to the glazed onions that we usually also have, p. 275 of my copy). FYI, acecil, this version of the recipe calls for ONE bag of cranberries (12ounces) for the proportion of other ingredients you list.

                                                                            I've got ground card. from Penzey's, which is a lot stronger than other brands I've gotten (a good thing). Looking forward to trying some of the suggestions here.

                                                                            1. re: mselectra

                                                                              Search NY Times Sunday Magazine from 11/28/10 for the recipe from 1963 for a delicious-sounding Norwegian pastry (I would post link but you have to sign in to get the recipe, access to the website is free once you register). Amanda Hesser specifies that new cardamom is needed to "make" the recipe.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                shouldn't have to sign in for it...

                                                                                http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/mag...

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Thanks! I had actually seen and saved that recipe -- it's way complicated for a very basic skills (and lazy) cook like me, but it does sound great.

                                                                                2. re: mselectra

                                                                                  took me a while to see this, but that is definitely the recipe I started from - I think it's the only recipe I still use from that book.

                                                                          2. Though it has been said before in this thread, it bears saying again. Start small with cardamom, introducing a little more and a little more til it is right. I have spoiled several coffee braids with too much, even thought the amount seemed small. It evokes many nice memories. Sometimes I just mix it in with sugar and sprinkle that heavily on top of the braid.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: random amblings

                                                                              I'd like to second that! I'm not so thrilled with the trendiness of cardamom right now. I hate it in almost everything.

                                                                              However, there is a sticky bun that is justifiably famous around here that has just the BAREST hint of cardamom. I'm very fond of it. I think that cardomom note just gives it a bit of complexity to go along w/ sweet. But everything else I've ever had the stuff in is overpowering and slightly nasty tasting to me.

                                                                              1. re: danna

                                                                                too much of a good thing, I agree cardamom def. can overpower and quickly go from yum to overdone. I love Indian sweets, ladoo being one of my fav. and the use of cardamom is balanced with other flavors unique to Indian pastries which really enhances the taste.

                                                                            2. Thanks again

                                                                              1. I use cardamom routinely (along with cloves and cinnamon) in all savory meat stews. I also add some crushed pods of cardamom to rice sometimes.

                                                                                1. I remember the first time I had rice with Cardamon pods in an Indian restaurant I had to find out what it was and have been crazy about it ever since. It is heavenly. It's intoxicating!

                                                                                  1. Great stuff...I use it a lot in my cooking.
                                                                                    A big +1 on adding it to coffee in the drip maker...and I am one who generally despises flavored coffee. Got turned on to the flavor by a Lebanese acquaintance who used it in his Turkish Coffee.

                                                                                    Lately I not only add cardamom, but I also some dried orange peel...they really complement each other.

                                                                                    1. I love cardamom and only recently discovered it, to be honest.

                                                                                      Here are 2 of my favourite recipes with cardamom:

                                                                                      Baked Rhubarb and Apples with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest
                                                                                      http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/...

                                                                                      Mango Shrikhand
                                                                                      http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/...

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: blinknoodle

                                                                                        Shreekhand or shrikhand is certainly a great way to enjoy the heady flavors of cardamom and saffron and also a touch of nutmeg. Best a day or two after the spices are mixed in the yogurt. Plenty of recipes online.

                                                                                      2. Cardamom has been my go-to spice for about 5 years now; i love it! I agree, super good addition to sugar cookies, fruit crisps, muffins. My 18 mo old happily eats it if it's in muffins or dishes with grains--quinoa, or cous-cous, or in meat stews. I like to add it to kofte and to turkey burgers. If you make a stew with lamb, or chicken, and add pomegranate syrup and cardamom to whatever else you put in, oh, yum!

                                                                                        I know it's all been said by everyone before, but since I love it so, I just had to add my 2 cents!

                                                                                        1. A pinch in a bloody mary is outstanding. I also like savory apps; I use it in a short rib recipe that braises down with port and red wine and a bunch of other spices, but the cardamom makes the dish.

                                                                                          1. I love cardomom. It echoes the mysterious East. I add it to my tea, coffee, mulligatwany soup. Add it to rice during the boiling process and people will line up outside your door with plates in their hands. It's lovely in curries and you can even throw some in to a marinade (I prefer the powdered version for this). As for sweet treats, it's a great alternative to cinnamon..

                                                                                            1. Wow! Thanks everyone!

                                                                                              1. Cardamom is the 3rd most expensive spice after No. 1 saffron and No. 2 vanilla bean.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                  I love to dress up oven-cured olives to serve with cocktails when we have company ... toast whole cumin and cardamom gently and then crush with a mortar and pestle ... when I have it, I add Harissa paste

                                                                                                  1. re: CocoTO

                                                                                                    Wow CocoTO: That sounds great. I have a favorite olive marinade, but must try this one.

                                                                                                    1. re: CocoTO

                                                                                                      Please tell me more about oven cured olives! Do you start with olives fresh off a tree?

                                                                                                      1. re: sweetTooth

                                                                                                        I wish! Unfortunately, so far I have just bought them at our local market where they sell them already oven cured ... I did find this reference to oven curing olives - maybe I'll try it next time http://italyville.com/2010/01/curing-...

                                                                                                  2. If you're a warm milk drinker, cardamom is a wonderful addition, just sprinkled on before warming, so it infuses the milk. Crush the pods or seeds a bit with the flat of a knife if you're using whole, to give the release a head start. Also greatly improves warm almond milk for the nondairy imbibers among us.

                                                                                                    1. Well, cardamom is new to me and I've been baking for 50 years or so. Thing is it's just been sorta missing from the American culinary tradition but once you have that soft flavor there's no going back. So maybe that explains why it's become current and pervasive.

                                                                                                      For me it will now permanently be in a triumvirate of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg and cardamom.

                                                                                                      I steep whole pods in milk or use ground cardamom for mixing into flour or sugar

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                                                                        See Rainey (or anyone else with food history knowledge) that is my question:

                                                                                                        From the perspective of origins, cardamom and cinnamon grow in similar / same regions and presumably be grown / shipped at the same time. Both have sweet and savoury applications, used in very similar ways, either together or separately.

                                                                                                        WHY did cinnamon catch on so much in the US while cardamom has not? Why in Europe, is cardamom common mostly in Scandinavian recipes but not elsewhere?

                                                                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                          Good question!

                                                                                                          As it turns out I'm currently listening to Bill Bryson's "At Home: A Short History of Private Life". In his introduction he touches on exactly that question in a teasing manner. I expect some sort of answer when he gets to the kitchen and I'll keep you posted if I find out.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                            http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/ca...
                                                                                                            attributes the Scandinavian use to Vikings encountering it in Constantinople about a 1000 yrs ago. Vikings traveled to this area via the rivers of eastern Europe (e.g. Volga). I don't know why it didn't carry over into Viking settlements in England and Normandy.

                                                                                                            But according to this, cardamom was including in the spice trade via Venice
                                                                                                            http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/arch...
                                                                                                            The word can be traced through Middle English to Old French, Latin and Greek.
                                                                                                            http://www.cardamomspice.com/
                                                                                                            It may be that in most of Europe, it was too expensive and used more for medicinal purposes than culinary.

                                                                                                          2. re: rainey

                                                                                                            I like your trio. Great idea mixing the ground into sugar. Ready for tea, coffee, whatever.

                                                                                                            1. re: raoghnailt

                                                                                                              I make one blend that I use all the time along with or instead of plain cinnamon and another for when I want the spicier note of ginger and cloves.

                                                                                                              To a 1/4 cup of cinnamon I add 2 tsp of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of cardamom. You can also add a 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder too. For the spicier version add some ground cloves and ground ginger. That's more like a spice cake or pumpkin pie flavor.

                                                                                                              I picked up the idea at Baking Bites but I can't find a link to the actual entry anymore.

                                                                                                          3. When friends stop by with wonderful dried apricots I focused on cardamom immediately and made both of these recipes yesterday: http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...

                                                                                                            I just had the infused dried apricots over plain Greek yogurt and it was killer good. I'm going to jar up a few gifts but I plan to make another batch later this week for the family. Excellent use of cardamom!

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                              Mmmm...that sounds good! And, as it turns out I have the cardamom pods (hope white pods will be OK) and a lot of fresh lemon juice on hand. All I'll need to get are the apricots.

                                                                                                              I bet these are pretty in the right size glass jar. Can't wait to be able to give some.

                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                rainey, I only used green pods but let me know how the white work for you. I had some small jelly jars left over from summer and the apricots do look very nice in the jar. Get the juicest dried whole apricots you can find. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  Mmmmm! I have the syrup simmered and oh what a lovely smell! And not nearly as sweet as I imagined (which is excellent).

                                                                                                                  Just put the fruit in to simmer.

                                                                                                                  I had to go to FOUR stores to get CA apricots. The great irony of this is that I live on the northwestern corner of the San Fernando Valley just across the hills from the Antelope Valley were CA apricots are grown! Anyway, while I was tromping through one store after another I picked up green pods.

                                                                                                                  Listen, I don't see anywhere in the recipe that I'm to strain anything. Did you take the pods and the vanilla bean out or jar them with? I'm thinking I'll just put them into a single jar while they mellow and move portions to smaller jars as I'm ready to give them. But I'm thinking it would be prettier with just the small seeds. What did you do, HillJ?

                                                                                                                  1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                    From recipe one I left half the apricots in half the sugar and jarred them. Then divided the other half in half again; using one half for recipe two and the other I separated the apricots from the syrup. I'm using the infused apricots to top a cake and the syrup to flavor smoothies (a little goes a long way). So out of the two recipes, I have four uses. The dried apricots with cardamom is my personal stash!

                                                                                                                    I'm sure the search for great apricots will be well worth it here.

                                                                                                                    I took the vanilla bean & pods out so it wouldn't overpower the jars. But I kept them to use in my coffee this week. If you leave in the pods let me know how that works for you.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      I put them in the large holding jar this morning. I put the vanilla bean in with them but I took out the cardamom pods and seeds. I was surprised to see how hard the cardamom seeds remained and I didn't want someone to inadvertently bite into that.

                                                                                                                      I put in the halves that remained intact with care, separated out the apricots that had gotten tattered for my use. I left in what vanilla seeds moved with the fruit and the liquid that stayed with them and I ended up straining the remaining juices to remove what cardamom seeds I had missed.

                                                                                                                      When I stack the nicest halves in small jars I may put a piece of the vanilla bean and a fresh cardamom pod right on the top where they can be easily removed. I'm not too concerned about a 1" or 2" section of half a vanilla bean and I hope 1 cardamom pod won't over power anything. It's such a soft and subtle flavor to begin with.

                                                                                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                        Beautiful, nice presentation rainey. Now, the important question-how did you like it? I just enjoyed a few dried pieces over my hot cereal and a smoothie using some of the syrup along with some mango juice and cucumber water.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          The cardamom gives the syrup a lovely note of complexity. I've had the fruit on my oatmeal and enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                          I haven't roasted any of it yet. "Bout time to get around to it I'd say. I'll have to get some Greek yogurt or maybe a triple cream cheese to try it with.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                            Thank you for checking back, rainey. Triple cheese sounds delish! If you come up with some unique uses for either recipe, let me know :) The cardamom is finally getting used up around my place. Cardamon tea bread this morning.

                                                                                                                    2. re: rainey

                                                                                                                      That sounds really yummy. FYI Trader Joe's usually has California apricots.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                        That's where I got 'em. ;>

                                                                                                              2. Oh cardamom! One of my favorite spices absolutely. I used to be assistant pastry chef and we paired it with many things. Goes nicely with rose water, pears, pepper, orange zest, it'll bring a really nice flavour to a moist honey cake.
                                                                                                                Don't overdo cardamom. Like cloves, it can be overwhelming. But even if you use it very subtly it will lift the flavour of a dish and what I really love is that while a lot of "winter spices" bring warmth to a dish, cardamom can take things in more of a cooling direction.

                                                                                                                As for using and buying it. Get yourself some pods, and just bust them open with the flat of your knife before use. The aromatics and flavour are unquestionably higher when fresh like this.

                                                                                                                1. loving the sound of these pancakes from Mark Bittman in today's NY Times:
                                                                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/din...

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    excellent use for dried apricots too...and I know there was a thread about using dried apricots around here somewhere....

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      a new one? i just did a search - most recent i could find was '09.

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        yes, new one. a few of us were discussing a roasted apricot and an apricot syrup...hmm..maybe sidebar...

                                                                                                                        eta: ROFL...the discussion is in THIS thread, above :)
                                                                                                                        wow, I'm losing it today. hanging head in shame
                                                                                                                        ghg, sorry for the goose chase.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          LOL!!! no apology necessary. in fact, *thank you* for the laugh. it's been a really rough month for me, i'll take a giggle wherever i can get one :)

                                                                                                                  2. These look lovely:
                                                                                                                    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                      Do they ever! Thanks for the link.

                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                        I made the "Cardamom Cream Puffs" or "Semlor" from the Saveur recipe above.
                                                                                                                        The "cream puffs" are actually little buns, made with cream and yeast and butter. Not hollow puffs, you must pull out most of the insides ("discard") to accomodate the filling -- (that don't seem right!)
                                                                                                                        The filling made according to the recipe is VERY cardamommy! :) Even though it's cut with stiffly whipped cream, there is a definite strong nothing-but-cardamom flavor. I'd reduce it if I were doing this again, maybe even halve it. I think goodhealthgourmet (a poster here) said it is potent and floral -- yes!
                                                                                                                        I had to crush the cardamom seeds with the back of a spoon, perhaps ground cardamom would have been less strong. Seeds were from my grocery in a little packet. Pics here:
                                                                                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/41199487...

                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                          wow blue room (loved the too much elk photo!)
                                                                                                                          would you recommend them if I cut back on the amt. of cardamom?
                                                                                                                          I was going to give them a go on Sunday.

                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                            Yes, unless you know you're gonna love it, I'd start with half-- it seems like it (cardamom) should be a soft background flavor like vanilla -- maybe nutmeg is a better example.

                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              I know exactly what you mean. Even nutmeg (which I adore) can be overdone, good comparison. I was thinking of trying a pistachio cream with the inclusion of cardamom. What do you think?

                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                Perfect with pistachio -- now that I think of it, I'll bet the flavor in my head that is "pistachio ice cream" is actually cardamom!

                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                  could be! they are often paired together in creamy desserts but pistachio is such a delicate flavor and cardamom so strong the right ratio is key. Must experiment.

                                                                                                                          2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                            I'm going to have to try them too, but I'll cut the cardamom. (I overdid the cardamom in some ice cream once, so I know how that goes.)

                                                                                                                            They look good. (Odd too about the cream puff recipe and pulling out the insides.)

                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              I've been meaning to try those... they look wonderful.

                                                                                                                              Cardamom lassi looks tasty, too:
                                                                                                                              http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                                                                          3. re: blue room

                                                                                                                            I LOVE Saveur! Quite a bit of cardamom info on that link! This one is nice
                                                                                                                            Queen of Spices
                                                                                                                            http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen...

                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                              I agree with you Shrinkrap, Saveur is a five-star website.

                                                                                                                          4. 25 pods of cardamom, 1.5 oz vodka, in a bottle for 2 weeks. Excellent cardamom extract.. use for everything - halwa, shrikhand (an amazing Indian yogurt-based dessert) and EVEN in tea. Takes the trouble out of peeling, crushing the pods and seeing the little specks that don't look pretty in some desserts.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: ak78

                                                                                                                              So, whole green pods? It doesn't seem that 1.5 oz. of vodka would cover 25 pods. But I love this idea.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                Yes, ak78, would you confirm that your vodka measurements. I'd like to give this a try

                                                                                                                                1. re: jkhdsf

                                                                                                                                  I tried it -- seems to be working (1.5 ounces of vodka was plenty).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                    Ruth, are we talking about green cardamom pods-- *very approximately* the size of a pinkie nail?
                                                                                                                                    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h... They would all (25 of them) fit in a quarter-cup measure?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                      I tried again with 1.5oz vodka - it worked. I guess it also depends on how narrow your bottle is.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                        Yup. Regular whole green cardamom pods. The vodka covered them with plenty of room to spare (and I just used a small-ish (10 oz.?) jar). It's turning out mighty tasty, too!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          I put a teaspoon of this in my apple crisp and it was delicious.

                                                                                                                              2. I agree with the person who said it's important to distinguish between black and green cardamom. They taste very different and are not interchangeable.

                                                                                                                                Green cardamom is more menthol-y and clove-y.
                                                                                                                                Black cardamom is more smoky.

                                                                                                                                I prefer the taste of black cardamom. It gives a fantastic flavor when sauteed in ghee with some onions and steamed with basmati rice.

                                                                                                                                I think most people in this thread are talking about green cardamom.

                                                                                                                                1. I hate it. It tastes like ladies perfume to me.

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm not sure if this is true of all North Indian cuisine, but in Bengali cuisine whole cardamom pods (along with whole cinnamon bark) are often added to rice dishes or curries. It's actually a rather ingenious method, because it perfumes the entire dish and you get a much more subtler and refined flavouring. The drawback, however, is when you bite into a whole cardamom pod. It isn't unpleasant for the taste, though it does get more bitter as it cooks, but rather for the surprise, as you believe that you were biting into a piece of fish or a grain of rice.

                                                                                                                                    It's also interesting to see a lot cardamom-flavoured chewing gum on the market these days. My father often chews on whole cardamom pods as it works as an instant mouth and breath freshener.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: gomes

                                                                                                                                      Better yet when you bite onto a whole clove:)

                                                                                                                                    2. Chai! yum yum yum easy and fun to make, great to offer to guests. You can make this quickly if people happen to stop by, too, and it's so much snazzier/ more unusual than offering tea or coffee. I don't order chai out in cafes anymore now that i brew my own, especially when I think that most of their chais probably come from powdered mix.

                                                                                                                                      I just made this delicious chickpea curry with yogurt, and like the chai, it calls for whole cardamom pods. I bruised them first before throwing them in. This is an excellent recipe. I made it on a weeknight, and b/c I have all of the Indian spices in my pantry, it was sooo quick and easy to put this together.

                                                                                                                                      Modifications: I added 1 tsp mustard seeds at the beginning, and let them pop first. Then the rest of the spices, including a good pinch or two of Aleppo chili. I simmered for longer than the five minutes, probably more like 20 mins. In the last few minutes of cooking, I threw in 5 ounces of spinach, let it wilt, and then the juice of 1/2 lemon right as I turned off the heat. The reviews say to be extra careful when adding the yogurt -- DEFINITELY remove the curry from heat first. I transferred to another bowl, then added the yogurt, as I was making this in advance -- no curdling at all. I used 3/4 cup Greek yogurt instead of 1 cup regular yogurt. Yum yum yum.

                                                                                                                                      chickpea curry with yogurt, tomatoes, and spinach if you want it...

                                                                                                                                      http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                                                                                                                                      1. Continuing on the cardamom quest, I arrived at my favorite use for those lovely specs of deliciousness: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...
                                                                                                                                        just so amazingly satisfying and comforting.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          Did you make them with cardamom in the dough and cinnamon in the filling, or did you use cardamom in the filling as well.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            Ruth, I added cardamom to the dough and to the icing sugar in the first batch. Then the cardamom in the dough and cinnamon in the filling for the 2nd batch. And when I begin the third batch I'm going to use this blend (as recommended by Heidi) in place of cinnamon alone and forgo the cardamom: http://www.julietmae.com/products/Mor...

                                                                                                                                        2. But the absolute BEST use for cardamon is aebleskiver! The delicious danish pancake balls that my great-grandmother would make. A bit more complicated (and uses a 'special' pan) than regular pancakes, but oh so much better.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: skirk

                                                                                                                                            skirk, did you see this thread?
                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/579996

                                                                                                                                          2. another way to showcase cardamom - in rice pudding - from today's LA Times:
                                                                                                                                            http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...