Differences among cardamom pods

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phoebe, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    My recipe just calls for 6 cardamom pods. I had some white pods, but they've been sitting in my cabinet for quite some time. So I went to an Indian spice shop and they had green and black pods. I knew they weren't to be eaten--just used to flavour the sauce--, so the owner recommended the black ones.
    Under which circumstances (in which types of recipes) do you folks use white, green or black pods?
     
  2. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I'm just beginning to experiment with south Asian spices. Here's what Penzey's has to say about cardamom:
     
  3. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Thank you SOOOOO much for the info. I didn't think to look in my Penzey's catalogues (duh :crazy: ). Great idea for next time (and there will be a next time, I'm sure). I ran out and bought a small packet of green cardamom pods and there's a HUGE difference. Those black ones are indeed smokey and would probably have ruined the dish. Of course the dish may be a bit much anyway with lots and lots of cilantro, spinach, jalapenos, dried red peppers, cinnamon, whole cloves, yogurt, golden raisins and grainy mustard . . . oh yeah, and chicken.
    Wish me (and my guests) luck. :D
     
  4. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Sounds yummy to me! How about posting the recipe? :lips:
     
  5. lamington

    lamington

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    I've tasted about five varieties of cardamom and came to the conclusion that the green variety is the most pleasant for Western palates. The other varieties tend to be considerably more camphorous, and the Chinese one actually numbs your tongue! Black cardamom is used in some Indian cooking, but not as a substitute for green cardamom.
     
  6. scott123

    scott123

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    I wouldn't throw out your white cardamom pods. If you grind them into a powder, you should get a little flavor from them. They won't be ideal, but for the price you pay for cardamom, I'd use them. Double the amount should make up for the loss in taste due to time.
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Remember too that whole spices keep longer than ground. So your old stuff might still be usable.

    I like to add black cardamom to the stock when I boil pork ribs. Since I can't make real barbecue (no way to smoke), I love that smoky flavor. (I also usually add some Lapsang Souchong tea, too.) But I'd never substitute black in a recipe that called for white or green, either.
     
  8. phoebe

    phoebe

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    It actually came out great! Though there was one problem: she says to remove the hard spices before serving. The whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and whole dried chilies aren't much of a problem. But how do you dig through thick, chunky, dark green sauce to find whole cloves and green cardamom pods? :confused: We kept poking at golden raisins thinking they were the pods :p . But if we take out those spices before adding the green sauce, the overall taste of the dish would be affected (at least that's what I figure). Any suggestions?

    The recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, but I'll summarize the directions.

    Chicken in a Cilantro, Spinach, and Mustard Sauce

    1/4 c vegetable oil
    3 bay leaves
    6 cardamom pods
    2- inch piece cinnamon stick
    5 whole cloves
    2 dried hot chilies
    2 1/4 lbs skinless chicken pieces -- cut into servings
    1/4 c golden raisins
    6 tbs plain yogurt
    1 1/4 tsps salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    2-inch piece fresh ginger root -- peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 to 2 fresh hot green chilies, with seeds -- coarsely
    chopped
    1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
    1 10 oz pack frozen chopped spinach -- defrost and lightly drain
    3 tbsps grainy mustard, Pommery Moutarde de Meaux

    Heat the oil over medium-high heat and put in bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, and red chilies. Stir for a few seconds (bay leaves should turn a little darker), and then add the chicken to brown on both sides. Add raisins and yoghurt, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, and cayenne and stir. Bring to simmer, then cover, turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
    Place ginger in a blender with 1 1/2 tbsps of water and blend to a paste. Add green chilies and cilantro and blend further. Add spinach, mustard and 1/4 tsp salt, blend briefly. The sauce should be coarse.
    Add the sauce to the chicken, bring back to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes more, turning the chicken a few times. Remove hard spices.

    This has a little heat (or a lot, depending on your green chilies and how much cayenne you toss in), so you might want to make some raita to go with it. We just made a simple one with yoghurt, grated cucumber (and its liquid), cumin powder, salt, and black pepper and it worked really well. :D
     
  9. chrose

    chrose

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    Really?!? That is very interesting. I inherited a bunch of black cardamom from my father. I am familiar with green and I really like the flavor. I tasted one of the black pods and I would agree Lamington that to me it tasted of camphor and I couldn't see how I would really use it. But based on your observation I am looking forward to trying it! Though I will do it on a few country ribs rather that experimenting on a whole butt!
     
  10. chrose

    chrose

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    How about a small cheesecloth sachet?
     
  11. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    Could use one of those little metal tea thingys forgot what you call them now. A little metal ball with holes and a chain on it. Gosh darn it! That stuff is expensive where I live.The ground cardamon here is about $11.00 for a small bottle. And I thought saffron was expensive! Boy!
     
  12. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Hmmm. That might work :roll: But I'm thinking I'd have to let them saute with the chicken, loose, first, just to make sure all the spices combine with the oil. Then I could gather them up into cheesecloth before adding the green sauce. Chrose, you ARE the man!
     
  13. foodpump

    foodpump

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    You mean a tea ball infuser? Use it all the time. Every soup of day gets it, stuff it with bay, clove, cracked pepper, fresh herb stalks, etc.
    Don't get the cheap ones though, or they'll split open and you'll have to fish all that stuff out by hand....
     
  14. chrose

    chrose

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    Yes, yes I am :look:
    I was thinking about what you said and had a thought (that's it for the night too!) Perhaps you could take a small amount of boiling water (like an 1/8 cup or so) and steep the items and then add the reduction and the sachet to the chicken. I realize you wouldn't get the toast off the spices, but again, it's just a thought!
     
  15. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    Thats it foodpump! Could not think of the name to save me.
     
  16. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I have some paper tea bags that you fill with your own choice of loose tea. They work great for spices, too. I staple it shut or use a toothpick (if I can't find the stapler). Tying it to the pot handle with a string makes fishing it out easier.
     
  17. bear8well

    bear8well

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    Green cardamom - Most recipes call for this one. I suggest just using the seeds as sometimes the pods taste bitter.

    White cardamom - These pale pods are the same ones as green cardamom, but they have been bleached. Most spice buyers say the flavor of white cardamom is milder than the green, but that is also why professional cooks say they don't like to use it.

    Black cardamom - This spice is usually cooked whole and adds an earthier flavor and aroma to food than its green cousin, making it better suited to savory dishes than desserts. I often combine it with green in garam masala where the other spices mellow out the camphorous tones.

    For more info on cardamom have a look at
    http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/cardamom.html
     
  18. shahar

    shahar

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    Love cardamon. We call it helh back home and always grind it with coffee.

    In the absence of cheese cloth you can use a coffee filter tied with twine.

    I think of it as similar to cinnamon. Not in i'st taste but in it's uses. Try it as substitute and old dishes would come out new and amazing. Apple spice. Creme brulee. With yams...

    When I can't find the shelled ones I dry fry the whole pods and grind them in a spice grinder with some salt.
    When using wholes smack them a little bit before adding, other wise the flavor won't come out well

    And lastly a little goes a very long way. A spoon of shelled seeds equals almost half a cup of whole pods.
     
  19. grumio

    grumio

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    Try an apple pie sweetened with honey & flavored with 1/2 tsp fresh ground cardamom seed (green) & 1tbsp grated fresh ginger.
     
  20. blueicus

    blueicus

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    I wouldn't bother with whole spices still apparent in the sauce or a pulao rice, in my opinion it continues to add flavour while still inside. Also, what the chef at the Indian restaurant I work at (and I notice this in other places too) is to blend the spices (crush cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, everything) into the sauce at the end of simmering to give it an even more intense spiciness and aroma to the dish (which I find I really like).