Let's spice up your recipes! Sometimes we spend time and money to create a dish and the results are bland and boring. Spices may be the answer! Flavorful cooking is important if you want to continue to be inspired to make healthy meals at home! Using a variety of spices will enhance the flavors of your dish without always adding a lot of salt.
I am starting a spice tutorial series to help you understand spices better so you are more confident to use some that may not be in the standard line up.
First up in our series, cardamom.
There are two varieties, black and green. Green is the most common and is grown in India, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Guatemala. This spice grows in the form of pods with small seeds inside. It is the third most expensive spice in the world behind saffron and vanilla. Why? Because it has to be harvested by hand, which is very labor intensive.
Most likely in the spice aisle of your grocery store, cardamom is sold whole.
In many international markets you can also purchase it in the powdered form. This product is the result of crushing the small internal seeds.
To transfer the most flavor into your dish, slightly crushing the whole pods will yield the best results. You would remove the pods before serving! They are not edible.
Secondly you can remove the small seeds and crush them with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. The powdered cardamom has been processed for you, but freshly ground has a much better taste!
10 pods = 1 1/2 TSP ground cardamom
So what should you add this precious spice to? The most common are curries, spice blends for stews and the easiest...try throwing a few pods into your next pot of steamed rice! It is also a good idea to add it in a recipe that already calls for cinnamon or allspice. Cardamom is a perfect compliment.
Just use it sparingly, a couple of slightly crushed pods, a little bit goes a long way.