THE SPICE: CARDAMOM
“There was a time when this aromatic green pod was traded along with gold, silver, and precious stones.” Sapna says, of the ‘Queen of Spices’. Favoured since ancient times, cardamom has had its many uses throughout the empires of history. Ancient Egyptians chewed the seeds to clean their teeth, whilst the Greeks and Romans used it as an aromatic perfume. “It isn’t only used in Indian cooking and desserts. The Arabs also used it for most desserts, and infused tea with it.” Sapna adds.
The spice itself is fairly unassuming to look at. The best pods are bright green, rather than white and dry. Crushed, the skins of the pods reveal the small black seeds within, which is where the flavour truly lies. As a spice, cardamom is distinct in its way, warm, pungent, and deeply aromatic. If golden, sun-burnt sand had an aroma, it’d smell like the spice.
“A pinch of cardamom powder elevates a simple dish, and gives it an aromatic flavour.” Sapna says. “It’s an excellent kitchen remedy for beating bad breath naturally, and it can also relieve headaches.” Like so many of its spice cousins, cardamom is also possessive of healing properties, and is frequently used in the practice of naturopathy. Used throughout the ages for gastrointestinal protection and weight-management, cardamom is also believed to control cholesterol and provide relief from cardiovascular problems. “Its natural oils are known to have healing and anti-oxidant properties,” Sapna says.
Sapna recommends storing your supply of cardamom in the chiller, or in a cool, dry place away from the sun.