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Chai to Chana Masala: All About Cardamom

cardamom

There are so many seasonings and spices out there that even we have a hard time keeping them straight! One lesser-known spice we love to incorporate into fall cooking is cardamom. It’s part of the ginger family, indigenous to Sri Lanka and India, and has a flavor reminiscent of cinnamon and clove. You would probably recognize it from the popular chai tea latte from Starbucks, which is flavored with cardamom. Cardamom is a traditional spice in Scandinavian baking as well as Indian cooking, bridging the gap between savory and sweet cooking with its versatile and complex flavor.

Cardamom has a number of health benefits including heartburn relief, digestion aid and anti-bacterial properties that aid cold and cough symptoms.

So all this is great, but how do you cook with it?

Whole pods

Whole cardamom pods are used to infuse flavor into dishes and should be removed before eating. Either add them whole or crack them to release more of the flavors. For fresh and pungent flavor you can remove the green casing and grind the seeds with a spice grinder or coffee grinder.

Seeds

Hulled cardamom seeds can be purchased ready to grind, but it’s worth the extra step of removing the casing yourself.

Ground

Ground cardamom is a quick solution if you want to skip the grinding and pod cracking. Quality ground cardamom will keep fresh in a dark, dry area for about a year.

Need a recipe to get started? Hunt down some whole cardamom pods and whip up this Chana Masala recipe from Bon Appetit!

- Alivia Duran

@aliviaduran

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