Off the Beaten Aisle: Cardamom by J.M. Hirsch in Recipes, April 21st, 2011
The typical grocer sells some 50,000 different products. The typical shopper buys the same 264 over and over again. The point of this blog? To persuade you to take a second look at some of the 49,736 foods that don’t usually land in your cart.
Cardamom, for example. This spice aisle resident is a master of blurring the sweet-savory line. Yet most people know it only (if at all) for the rather dull cookies named after it. But cardamom is way more than a cookie, and it belongs on the dinner table as much as in desserts.
First, the basics. Cardamom is a seed that is related to ginger and originated in India (both of which explain why it makes frequent appearances in Indian sauces, chutneys and rubs). The taste is citrusy and floral, as well as warm and peppery.
Cardamom is sold whole (black seeds in a greyish-green pod) and ground (a fine greyish-blue powder). While the flavor is best when you get whole pods and grind them as needed, raise your hand if you can admit that’s too much trouble.