Spices are the foundation of Indian cuisine. Cardamom, clove, coriander, cumin, fenugreek and turmeric comprise the essence of the Indian flavors that we all know and love. While most are familiar with these spices in ground form, using them whole or grinding them fresh makes every dish even better.
Green Cardamom, or “elaichi” in Hindi, is a featured product in our February/March CrateChef box. Made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family, it has a warm, bitter, lemon flavor and is most often used to sweeten dishes.
“Vanilla in European desserts perform[s] the role that cardamom [does] in many Indian desserts,” says Nik Sharma, this month’s CrateChef featured chef. Cardamom pairs well with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and garam masala. The Flavor Equation, Sharma’s latest cookbook, incorporates the spice in many dishes including Green Cardamom Extract (pg. 47), Cardamom Toffee Sauce (pg. 323), Herb and Paneer Pulao (pg. 80), Spiced Coffee Kulfi (pg. 123) and Sweet Potato Honey Beer Pie (pg. 129).
Cardamom has the power to elevate food by adding complexity and sweetness unlike anything else. Because of its robustness, it must be gradually incorporated so as not to overpower the accompanying flavors.
Ideal in countless recipes, cardamom is an essential spice that everyone needs in their kitchen. If your pantry is sans cardamom, we’re talking to you!