Prized by Indian, Scandinavian, and Middle Eastern cooks, cardamom has a sweet, warm taste and an exotic floral aroma. Its uses span the culinary spectrum--from beverages and delicate desserts to meats and curries.
Botanical name: Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton
Try cardamom in cakes, cookies and pies, stews and loaves, meat and vegetable pies, fruit salads and desserts (like baked apple), mulled wine, grape jelly, pickles, sausage seasoning, soups (especially split pea soup), and with sweet potatoes, carrots and squash. Indian cooks use cardamom in meats, vegetable and grain dishes, beverages, and desserts. It's an essential ingredient in authentic curry and garam masala blends. Whole pods are also chewed after spicy meals to cleanse the breath. Scandinavians use cardamom liberally in spice cakes, sweet pastries, breads, cookies, and ground meats (like Swedish meatballs). Spanish, Mexican and German cooks also enjoy cardamom. (German pfeffernusse cookies rely on it.)
Commercially, the fruits, seeds and oil are used to flavor beverages, frozen desserts, baked goods, candies, puddings, meats, fish, and condiments. It flavors custards, some Russian liqueurs, Arab and Turkish coffee, and Indian tea.