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How to Make Ground Cardamom

Global Pantry: A Short Course on Cardamom

We've got a new partnership with Padma Lakshmi! The host of the Emmy-winning Top Chef, writer, and designer started Padma Lakshmi, a social networking site that celebrates our favorite topics, including food adventures, recipes, and party planning. She'll be dishing up goodies for us here on YumSugar monthly. Today, Padma shows us what the spice cardamom is useful for, and why it's so much better to grind cardamom yourself.

Cardamom comes in two main forms: pale, sage-green pods that contain eight to 10 tiny, highly perfumed seeds (which are crushed to make the spice powder), and the larger black cardamom that is used to give savory roasts and curries their heat. For baking, make sure you ask for the green kind, as it is significantly more delicate in aroma and taste; the black variety tastes of menthol and eucalyptus. Most supermarkets sell cardamom in its powder form, but it’s very easy to make your own freshly ground cardamom powder for baking and mixing into spiced teas, like masala chai. Turkish and Arabic coffee also get their aroma from cardamom; it’s a lovely spice to have on hand to dress up many a simple sweet concoction.

Related: Global Pantry: Juniper Berries Are Multitaskers

Just take a dozen or so green cardamom pods (they are only a 1/4-inch long) and slowly peel away the pale, dry, green shell of each to reveal the tiny black pellet seeds inside. One side of the pod will be more pointed; with your thumb and index finger, peel back a side by breaking the little pointed nub. You can even smash or crush a few at a time with the back of a large metal spoon or ladle. Make sure you have a small mortar and pestle on hand; peel the pods directly over the mortar’s basin so as to catch all the seeds. Once you’ve collected enough seeds, discard the green outer shells and pound the seeds into a fine powder with the pestle. Save in a small glass jar in your pantry; the powder will keep its fragrance for months if you seal it well.

What’s your favorite spice for baking and cooking?

Photo Source: 2bp

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