All about Cardamon
Cardamom likes rain, shade and altitude. It enjoys the mountains between five hundred and fifteen hundred meters in the mountains of Kerala, whose cardamom are native, and where they still exist in the wild, they form groves with large leaves.
To grow them, just replant a piece of rhizome. At the end of 2 or 3 years, this herbaceous plant of two or three meters high, with long lanceolate leaves and beautiful white flowers resembling irises, gives fruits measuring 5 mm to 2 cm long.
The harvest is spread over a period of three to four months, not all fruits ripening at the same time. Before they mature too much, they are cut with scissors, taking care not to spoil flowers or fruits that are not yet ripe.
The fruits of cardamom are capsules which each contain, in three separate boxes, about twenty seeds constituting the spice. they are kept whole to facilitate treatment and avoid forgery. In the sun, the fruits are scalded and put to dry. They remain green unless they are soaked in a second bath to whiten them. In this case, white cardamom is obtained. Sometimes cardamom undergoes fermentation for 2 days before being dried.
Belongs to the ginger family, there are two varieties of cardamom, the « Kerala Minor », considered the best, and the « major », with larger and longer fruits, found in Sri Lanka, the Indochinese peninsula, China and in Central America. There are also fake cardamoms, which are similar species, Asian or African, giving much larger fruits with a more camphorated perfume.
The scents and flavor of cardamom come from the terpenes contained in the essential oil. The essential oil is very volatile: it loses one third of its aromatic properties in the space of eight months. It is therefore best to consume this spice quickly.
The different uses
In the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, cardamom is present in pastries and alcoholic beverages. It has been used for centuries in Asia, in cooking in many spice blends, including curry, massala and Ras El Anout, as well as in traditional Chinese medicine. Use to perfumes coffee in middle-east (a seed crushed per cup) or tea (split the capsules before mixing them with black tea).
Its essential oil, obtained by distillation, is also used by manufacturers of biscuits and cakes, as well as by liquorists.
The plant has been domesticated in southern India from wild strains that still grow in the wild. commercial production comes mainly from cultivated strains. According to Indian botanists, with domestication, its pollinator has changed.
The wild plant is pollinated by solitary bees (Megachiles), whereas the domesticated strains are pollinated by social bees.
One of the first known uses of cardamom in Europe dates back to the Middle Ages. Also, it was then part of the mix of spices that participates in the processing of red wine (difficult to keep in the Middle Ages) in hypocras that was served as an aperitif. Except in the gingerbread, and in the cuisine of the Scandinavian countries, in Europe it is little used. It’s also used often to flavor coffee or tea in India (chai masala) and Turkish coffee (a decoction of ground coffee very finely). Cardamom can also be used in the manufacture of mead.
Nutritional and medicinal values.
In South Asia, green cardamom is widely used to treat infections in the teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat problems, lung congestion, pulmonary tuberculosis and inflammation of the eyelids.
Cardamom can be used to soothe stomach pains after a meal too heavy (anti-acid virtues) and to facilitate digestion in general. It helps neutralize the smell of garlic when you eat after dinner. The Spice would have stimulating virtues. It has also been used as an antidote for snake and scorpion venoms. She was like « little cardamom » one of the multiple constituents of the theriac of the Western maritime pharmacopoeia in the eighteenth century.
All about Cardamon… Etymology
The word « cardamom » is derived from the Latin cardamomum, which is the Latinisation of the Greek καρδάμωμον (kardamomon), a compound of κάρδαμον (kardamon), « cress » + ἄμωμον (amomon), which was probably the name for a kind of Indian spice plant. Earliest attested form of the word κάρδαμον signifying « cress » is the Mycenaean Greek ka-da-mi-ja, written in Linear B syllabic script, in the list of flavourings on the « Spice » tablets found among palace archives in the House of the Sphinxes in Mycenae.
The modern genus name Elettaria is derived from the local name. The root ēlam is attested in all Dravidian languages viz. Kannada elakki (ಏಲಕ್ಕಿ), Telugu yelakulu (యేలకులు), Tamil elakkai (ஏலக்காய்) and elakka (ഏലക്കായ്) in Malayalam. The second element kai means « seed » or « fruit ». The Malabar region had historical trade connections and was a prominent area of cardamom cultivation.
A related root is also present in
- Hindi elaichi (इलायची),
- Bengali ælachi (এলাচি),
- Sylheti elasi and Punjabi elaichi (ਇਲੈਚ) « green cardamom ».
- It is called photta in Sindhi. In standard Afghan Pashto, it is called Hel.
- Also, It was known as ela (एला) or ellka (एल्ल्का) in Sanskri.
- In Marathi, it is commonly known as velchi (वेलची) or veldoda (वेलदोडा).
- The plant is known as enasal in Sri Lanka, in the Sinhala language.
All bout Cardamon for gourmets…
(Click on the photo…)
Pistachio-Crusted Chinook Salmon with Ginger-Cardamom Yogurt Sauce, Glazed Beets and Grilled Summer Squash by J Chef Joe.
Cardamom Marinated Lamb Chops with Pear Chutney, Cilantro Cous Cous and Tomato Yogurt Salad by Roger Mooking.
Pineapple-Glazed Shrimp by The Fabulous Beekman Boys.
Mushroom & Cardamom Soup by Trinity [Kind Earth].
All about Cardamon for gourmands…
Mulled Wine Trifle By Simon Rimmer…
Moroccan-Style Fruitcake with Apricots, Dates and Figs by Hedy Goldsmith.
Date, Pistachio and Cardamom Cake by Aarti Sequeira.
Meyer Lemon Cardamom Crinkle Cookies by Joanne Maurer Ozug.
Deep Dish Cheese Pie by Charles Granquist.
Still want delicacies?
Apricot Jam Recipe with Noyaux, Spices and Bourbon by Sean Timberlake.
Banana and Cardamom Creme Brulee by Bal Arneson.
Southmoreland Plum Kabobs with Cardamom Sugar Rub by Nancy Miller.
Cardamom-Orange French Toast by Aida Mollenkamp.
Roasted Pears with Cardamom Granola and Vanilla Ice Cream by Roger Mooking.
Other useful links…
Orange Cardamom Bellini by Dave Lieberman…
All about Cardamon is also…
How tu use Cardamon by Trinity (Kind Earth) (Video here)
Chef Yamaguchi’s tip – Prepare the cardamom pie dough (video here)
Heavy Rock (Video here)
Cardamon on Wikipedia UK
Cardamon sur Wikipedia FR