For most of us, cardamom is that exotic, elusive note in so many of the Pakistani dishes we love. We have a vague notion that it comes in a pod and requires some special handling. But, dear baker, this is a mistake. Take a chance, just once, with a batch of butter cookies, or maybe a dish of ice cream. Cardamom adds a powerfully sweet, somehow magical note to the simplest pastry or dessert. Somehow, cardamom seems celebratory.
In Scandinavia and Germany, cardamom traditionally is used in cakes and breads and cookies. American bakers and cooks are flummoxed, though, by the idea of cardamom.
But in the course of developing recipes using cardamom, something very simple struck us: You can reach for cardamom whenever you would use cinnamon. It’s that versatile.
Benefits of Eating Cardamom with Warm Water
Over the course of a few weeks, we found ourselves amazed by the results. We made traditional, yeasted sweet rolls using cardamom instead of cinnamon, and they were suddenly something very special and festive. We made spritz cookies with a sprinkling of cardamom and pistachio that quickly became addictive.
Easiest of all: We sprinkled some freshly ground cardamom and a drizzle of honey over vanilla ice cream. It was an instant hit–and so sophisticated and wonderful that you could serve it at a dinner party and hold your head high. Now we’re thinking about French toast, creme brulee, madeleines …
There are a few things to know before you start baking.
First, there are three kinds of cardamom: green, white and black. Green cardamom is the one you want. Bakers should avoid the other two: White cardamom is actually green cardamom that has been bleached, a process that leaches out flavor and makes it inferior. Black cardamom is not true cardamom; it’s a bigger, rougher pod with an aggressive camphor flavor. It’s used mainly in savory Indian dishes.
Green cardamom, a relative of ginger, is grown in southern India and other tropical areas including Asia, the Pacific and South America.
When you buy it, look for plump pods; they have the most flavor. Inside are three compartments containing small seeds–about 15 or 20 total. When the cardamom is fresh, the seeds are slightly sticky. Although you’ll find green cardamom in a good supermarket, the best place to buy it is an Indian or Middle Eastern market, where it’s available in bulk and more likely to be fresh. source