Have you ever wondered what cardamom is and where it comes from?
This exotic spice belongs to the ginger family. Compared to its relative, whose roots are the critical part, cardamom is best known for the flavors found in its fruits and seeds.
Shortly before ripening, the pods are handpicked. Harvesting cardamom is a meticulous process that is typically done by hand. The spice must then move through dozens of steps before it finally ends up in shops and kitchens. The bigger the pods and the more intense their color, the better the quality and the higher the price :).
Popularly known as Queen of Spices, Cardamom/Elaichi is native to the evergreen rain forests of the Western Ghats in South India. It is primarily cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala's Idukki district (that is where we come from), cardamom is a way of life.
The bright green pods with black pearls can liven up any dish or dessert you can think of. Not only this but loaded with various health benefits. According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing, a volatile oil constituent called cineol in cardamom may help break up chest congestion, making the spice the right choice for treating respiratory disorders. It also makes for an effective digestive stimulant and diuretic. Considering its many benefits and aromatic flavors that it offers, you must include it in your daily diet.
We'll tell you exciting ways to add cardamom to your diet.
1. The Popular Masala Chai
However you like your tea, be it milk masala tea, green tea, or black tea, cardamom adds a refreshing flavor. All you need to do is infuse the pods by crushing them or using cardamom powder in your tea. Enjoy this any time of day, and feel refreshed.
2. Flavourful Desserts
Below are some of my all-time favorite Indian sweets, all of which incorporate cardamom in different manners. Be it Phirni, Malpua, Ras malai, Gajar ka halwa, Gulab jamun, or Rabdi, almost all Indian desserts hint at cardamom that gives them a distinctive flavor. Make yourself lesser guilty by adding Cardamom to these sweet delights.
3. Pop it as a Mouth Freshener
You can also add a few pods in saunf or fennel seeds to add to the flavor. One of the best ways to have cardamom is to pop in as it is; not only does it taste amazing, but it will also work as a mouth-freshener. The aromatic sweet flavor of cardamom refreshes your breath. Just keep cardamom pods handy anywhere you go and ensure a healthy and fresh breath.
4. Add it to your Drink.
Fancy a fresh thandai in summers or golden turmeric milk in winters?
5.Pop it in your Garam Masala
If you do not like the ground cardamom into your mouth, blend it with other ground spices and use the mixture as garam masala. This way, you get to experience amazing flavors and all the benefits of cardamom.