Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 24, 2012 06:52 AM

Cardamom -- how do you use it?

I just bought my first-ever jar of ground cardamom. I bought it because more and more I've been noticing mentions of it on various cooking shows ("...and that hint of cardamom really does enhance the flavor..."). Okay, so now I have it, but I have no idea what to do with it, or how much of it to use. Are there some guidelines I might follow? For example, would I use it wherever I use vanilla or cinnamon? Or in certain types of dishes? According to the label on the jar, it can be used almost anywhere -- pastries, cookies, stews, etc. But after tasting it, I'm not at all sure what it might add to any of those. I need some guidance here. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's fragile in the freshness department.I keep mine in the freezer.Bold stuff,easy to over do.

    Use...Me,not a big fan cinnamon in large measures.Gets used here in recipes that already ask for cinnamon,nutmeg,cloves,allspice,chocolate and coffee,as an addition or partial substitution for the others.
    pound cake,shortbread cookies,peaches (sweet and savory) pumpkin cheese cake

    curries,lamb and venison braises

    1. I love cardamon, but it does take some practice to cook improvisationally with it, as it's a distinctive flavour, and can be pretty strong.

      Cardamon is a common ingredient in Indian spice mixtures (curries, etc) often blended with things like cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, tumeric etc. So check out some Indian cookbooks for ideas.

      It's great in masala chai - hot, milky, sweet spiced tea. Cardamon and ginger is a common blend for this.

      I find cardamon pairs well with fruits, either in sweet or savory recipes. Cardamon and orange, for example, in a glaze for meat, or cardamon and peach with baked pork, or a cardamon spiked apple sauce.

      I love rice pudding made with coconut milk and cardamon.

      1. It's useful in all kinds of rice dishes, in cakes and cookies and nearly every variety of pastry. I sometimes use it in pancakes.
        "...would I use it wherever I use vanilla or cinnamon? Or in certain types of dishes?"
        I suppose you could consider that but I wouldn't use it with vanilla and cinnamon every time I used both of those. Using any set combination of flavorings and spices as a routine tends to make everything taste the same. I use it whole and grind it as I need it. But as pointed out by tastesgoodwhatisit and Icool, it can be quite strong and if you're hot careful it will overpower a dish so use it sparingly and learn by experience how to apply it to your recipes; less is more.

        1. i personally prefer to buy the whole pods & grind them fresh or steep them in liquid, but the pre-ground is simpler for someone who's not used to working with it. cardamom is one of my favorite spices (actually two, i guess, since i use both green & black), but go easy - it's potent stuff...

          10 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            GHG, do you grind the whole pods or do you crack them and extract the seeds, then grind that? I am way too lazy to extract the seeds so I generally just crack the pods, steep them in whatever I'm cooking then fish them out later, but if the pods can be ground that would make life easier. How are the green and black varieties different? I have only ever used green...

            1. re: biondanonima

              The black have a smoky flavor and are used only in savory dishes.

              1. re: sr44

                Not necessarily. Scandanavians use black cardamom in many of their baked goods.

                1. re: smithareeny

                  I've had cardamom-flavored bread, but it didn't have the smoky camphor-like flavor I associate with black cardamom.

                  1. re: smithareeny

                    i just ran to the store to get it, I couldnt find my jar. I use it in an Icelandic cake that my grandmother made, Vinnetertta. It is 10 layers, like 5 layers of a bid sugar cookie baked on the back of a cake pan and inbetween is the cooked mash of dates, prunes, sugar and cardamon. It is the best thing ever!!!!!! There is cardamon in the cookie part too.

                    1. re: lpgwilliams

                      That does sound amazing! Would you be willing to post the recipe please?

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Thanks! I've got some reading to do. :-)

                The pods -- are they large, like nutmeg? Do you grind them the way you grind other spices? (I use a re-purposed whirlygig coffee grinder.)

                1. re: CindyJ

                  small,soft skin with seeds inside,easy to grind or crush,similar in size to a raisin

                  1. re: lcool

                    the whole pod is raisin size (altho' black cardamom is bigger), but the seeds are much smaller.

                    1. re: pine time

                      CindyJ asked pod,I think the first time she sees,touches her first soft pod it's all self explained

              3. I actually use it a lot more in whole pod form than ground. Tagines, pilafs, curries, yeast breads, sprinkled on top of latte's, lassi and chai drinks.