How To Correctly Use Cardamom In Your Cooking For Maximum Flavor
Cooking with spices can be daunting, especially those such as cardamom, which has a very distinct and easily overpowering flavor. When used correctly, cardamom can add a depth of flavor like no other to your dishes, but if used heavy-handedly, then you find yourself with a less than pleasant taste in your mouth. Here are some of our top tips to help you use cardamom correctly in your cooking.
Remember that there is a difference between green cardamom and black cardamom
99% of the time, when a recipe references just cardamom, it means green cardamom and not black cardamom. Green cardamom is used widely in both sweet and savory dishes, while black cardamom has a much more earthy and smokey flavor suitable for far fewer recipes. Substituting green for black cardamom can dramatically change the flavor profile of your dishes, so if in doubt, stick to green cardamom.
Buy cardamom pods whole and grind your own seeds for maximum flavor
Although it can be tempting to pick up cardamom seeds or even ground cardamom for ease, you can never beat the flavor extracted from freshly ground whole cardamom. To grind your own, simply crack open the cardamom pods using a pestle or a garlic press, and then rub the seeds in a pestle and mortar. If you’re struggling to grind up your seeds, then add them to a spice grinder. Although you may not be using the cardamom pod in your recipe, don’t throw it away as it still has a delicious and mild cardamom flavor. Keep your cardamom pod husks to one side and then use them when cooking rice for a delicate cardamom taste and aroma.
Toast your cardamom pods before grinding them for more flavor
Toasting your spices can really intensify their flavor. Sometimes a recipe will call for you to toast your spices first, and other times it may leave it up to you to decide whether you want to or not. If you want to add a little extra flavor to your dishes, then toast your whole cardamom pods in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes before extracting the seeds and grinding them as mentioned above.
Keep the seeds in their pods for a more subtle flavor
Quality cardamom seeds are very aromatic, which is why some dishes call for the whole cardamom pod to be used instead of ground seeds. By keeping the seeds inside the pod, a more subtle flavor can diffuse into your dish, and you can remove the pod when the right flavor has been achieved.
With cardamom, often less is more
Like many spices, often less is more. Although it can be tempting to double up on spices in a recipe, this can completely alter the balance of flavors, and you may end up with an acrid or bitter taste rather than the subtle layering of flavors that you were hoping for. If the quantities of spices are not clearly labeled in a recipe, then always stay on the side of caution, knowing that you can add more later if needed.
So there you have it - five of our top tips to help you cook confidently with cardamom.