Cardamom - Description
Cardamom is a classic spice from the fruits of the same name herb of the ginger family. It originates from the Malabar coast of India and Ceylon. These countries and today remain the largest producers of cardamom. In addition, it is grown in Guatemala and Tanzania. However, if you evaluate the quality and taste, then the indisputable leader is Indian cardamom.
And in ancient times, Arab merchants brought cardamom to the Greeks and Romans. From them about this wonderful spice learned in Europe. Dioscorides and Pliny called Cardamom a “most tender” spice with great healing power.
At first this plant grew wild. And today, wild cardamom can be found in the Middle East and Sri Lanka. Since the XIX century it began to grow as a crop, moving from the forests to plantations. Cardamom grows in areas with moist fertile soil, in a warm and humid climate. Growing cardamom is a very time-consuming process, as the plantation has to be planted along the way with trees that must shade the plant from the sun's rays.
When cardamom fades, its capsule pods with spice mature for several months, ripening to the desired stage by mid-January. Collectors of cardamom show interest only to slightly immature fruits, since mature ones crack during drying and do not receive the desired shade. After harvesting, the fruits are dried and become light green in color. Dried cardamom is cleaned and sorted by size.
Cardamom - Properties
About the healing properties of cardamom has long been known. It contains from 3% to 8% essential oil, in which there is a fatty oil; up to 10% rubber and amidona. Also, cardamom seeds are rich in terpineol, terpinylacetate, cineol, protein. Thanks to this, it helps to stimulate the secretion of gastric juice, strengthen the muscles of the stomach, cleanse the gastrointestinal tract and normalize digestion. Also, cardamom is characterized by a significant content of calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc, which is higher in it than other spices. Due to the content of vitamins B1, B2, B3, cardamom improves the condition of the nervous system by relieving tension. It is also able to eliminate depression and stimulate the brain.
Eastern medicine ascribes the ability of cardamom to remove mucus from the body, which makes it possible to treat asthma, bronchitis, the common cold and cough.
Because of the antiseptic and analgesic properties, cardamom relieves toothache, cleans the mouth and breathing.
Cardamom is also a pronounced tonic. It is able to improve the work of the heart muscle, and is an effective treatment for cystitis, nephritis, involuntary urination.
Cardamom is not recommended for stomach ulcers.
Cardamom - use in cooking
Cardamom is the most beloved spice in its countries of growth, being part of traditional spicy mixtures with these peoples, which are seasoned with meat and rice dishes, as well as fruits and nuts. Arabs from antiquity made it enriched with cardamom coffee, in the preparation of which several boxes of freshly ground spices are put into a cezve. Thanks to cardamom, the taste of coffee becomes more piquant, and the aroma is saturated. In addition, cardamom has the ability to smooth the effects of caffeine and thereby prevent the risk of tachycardia and increased blood pressure.
The peoples of Northern India, it is part of all traditional spice mixtures. Also in India, cardamom is used to make traditional drinks.
In China, cardamom is usually added to tea.
As for the European peoples, they improve the taste and aroma of sauces and sauces with the help of cardamom. Cardamom mixed with saffron and cumin seasoned boiled fish; cardamom with red pepper is used for fried fish; with cayenne pepper - for baked fish and other seafood; with marjoram - for fish aspic, etc.
The French season with cardamom liqueurs, and the Germans enrich them with a mixture of spices, with which they flavor the famous Nuremberg gingerbread “lebkuchen” - an indispensable treat to the Christmas table. In Russia, cardamom was seasoned with cereals, and today in Russian cuisine it is used to flavor dishes of veal, beef, and lamb. It is used for both fried and boiled products (goulash, minced meat, pilau, pates, skewered meat, etc.). Also, cardamom is used when baking gingerbread, honey cakes, muffins, cakes, yeast dough pies. This spice flavored compotes, jellies, mousses.
Examples of recipes with Cardamom
Recipe 1: Milky Sweet Rice with Cardamom
This dish is an excellent dairy dessert.
500 gr. milk;
100 gr. rice;
100 gr. Sahara;
1 tsp. cardamom seeds (ground).
Method of preparation:
1. Carefully wash the rice.
2. Mix the milk and rice in a saucepan, bring them to a boil.
3. Reducing the heat, boil the milk with occasional stirring so that it evaporates by half.
4. When we see that the milk has thickened, add sugar and cardamom and boil for about 5 minutes. Removing from heat, cool.
5. If desired, sprinkle the finished dish with roasted almonds.
Recipe 2: Scotch Cardamom Cookies
After tasting this dish, you will understand that the Scots knew a lot about cookies and spices. Cardamom gives it a completely unmatched taste and aroma, so sweet tooth will certainly appreciate this cookie.
200 gr. drain oils;
500 gr. flour;
100 gr. semolina;
100 gr. powdered sugar;
1 tsp. cardamom seeds (ground);
0.5 tsp. quenched with lemon soda;
to taste the salt.
Method of preparation:
1. Heat the oven to 120C. Sift flour several times.
2. Thoroughly mix the oil with cardamom, whipping it and gradually adding icing sugar. You can do this with a mixer.
3. Mix the flour with semolina and salt (you can add any crushed nuts to the mass).
4. Combine the butter with the flour, knead the dough and distribute it on a dry baking sheet having a radius of 20-25 cm. Cut the resulting layer into cookies, lightly pierce the dough with a fork at a distance of about 2 cm. 5. Bake for an hour until the cookie has a pale golden (but not brown) color.
6. We take out cookies from the oven and immediately sprinkle with sugar, let cool.
7. Carefully with the help of a knife, we resume the cut lines made before baking and put the cookies on the tray.
Recipe 3: Pumpkin porridge with cardamom, baked in a pot
Pumpkin contains nutrients and minerals necessary for our body. Seasoning it with cardamom, we get a very healthy and tasty dish.
200 gr. millet groats;
400 gr. pumpkins;
800 gr. milk;
100 gr. Sahara;
5 gr. cardamom (ground);
Method of preparation:
1. Put the well-washed millet in a saucepan, fill it with water. Bring it to a boil.
2. After cleaning the pumpkin and removing seeds from it, rub it on a coarse grater. Mix it with sugar, cinnamon and cardamom, mix thoroughly.
3. Putting pumpkin and millet in a pot, pour milk over it (it should cover pumpkin with 2 fingers). Having heated the oven to 200 ° C, put a pot in it and prepare the dish for about an hour.
Cardamom - useful tips from experienced chefs
The quality of seeds greatly influences the flavor of cardamom, so when buying this spice, pay special attention to it. You should avoid buying seeds whose boxes are wrinkled, empty, too small (immature) or have cracks.
Cardamom is a very hot spice, so be careful when handling it. The following standards are used in cooking: for baking from 0.3 g to 0.5 g for one portion (in the form of ground seeds), for liquid dishes the dose is taken 2 times less, and used in the form of seeds, which are put in a dish for 5 minutes to his readiness.