Cardamom deserves more love as a baking spice. It’s unique yet versatile, warming and bold, and fit for both sweet and savory foods. Although you may not have cooked with cardamom yet, you’ve likely had it before, hidden in a sauce or mixed into a dough, and wondered how exactly the chef achieved that particular flavor. Cinnamon will always have a place in our cabinets, but it’s time to make room for another one-and-a-half-inch spice jar.
What does cardamom taste like?
Cardamom is a green seed pod that contains little black seeds. Usually you can buy the spice in three different forms – the dried, whole seed pod, the unground black seeds, or the black seeds ground into a powder. Depending on how you’re cooking with it, you might want all three preparations available. The flavor of cardamom is unusual but when you taste it, you get the feeling you’re seeing an old friend. To break it down like a sommelier of spices: It’s floral with notes of evergreen, full-bodied, and sustains a soft menthol-like finish.
Its applications in different dishes are surprising, and cardamom really does play well with other spices. Although it is perfectly fine on its own, cardamom can also become an exuberant filler-aroma behind other spices. Used around the world for both sweet and savory applications, you can find it in hearty, warming recipes like Indian murgh masala, Thai massaman, Nigerian puff puff, and Swedish Kardemummabullar.
Where to start with the “queen of spices”
Cinnamon, apple, and cardamom are excellent partners, and if you’re unaccustomed to working with “the queen of spices,” I suggest you start there. If you’re making an apple cake that uses cinnamon, add a dusting of cardamom, too; or take a leap of faith and substitute the cinnamon with cardamom. You won’t be disappointed. Anyone experimenting with cardamom should start with half of the amount the recipe calls for in ground cinnamon. Cardamom might seem strong at first, so if a cinnamon bun recipe calls for two tablespoons of cinnamon, use one tablespoon of cardamom, regardless of if you’re substituting the spice or adding it along with the cinnamon.
For an easy, sweet topping, make this cardamom-sugar to sprinkle on buttered toast, press onto cookie dough, or mix into rice pudding or oatmeal. Put both ingredients in a bowl and mix, or for easy keeping, pour them in a lidded jar and shake. I like to roll my butter cookie base recipe in this cardamom-sugar for a tasty treat with coffee.
How to make cardamom-sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons of ground green cardamom
Place both ingredients in a container and mix until blended. Sprinkle on everything from ice cream to apple fritters.
This article was written by Allie Chanthorn Reinmann from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.