Cardamom comes in the form of aromatic green and black and white pods filled with tiny black seeds. Green cardamom has a sweeter, citrus flavor.  It’s picked earlier than black cardamom, which has a darker more robust flavor. White cardamom has had all the oil extracted from the pod, leaving it without color.  I’ve never used the white, nor have I seen it at the Indian grocery store.  Cardamom has a strong flavor and should be used sparingly in recipes so as not to overpower a dish.

You can purchase the seeds in full pods which can be crushed or pulled apart to reveal their flavorful seeds. You can also purchase just the seeds for quick convenience. Using whole cardamom will result in the strongest, freshest flavor.

Indian cooking uses cardamom in both sweet and savory dishes. They are used in cardamom tea cookies along side a steaming cup of cardamom chai or plain chai; kheer, a sweet dessert similar to rice pudding. They can be added to cakes or even ice cream.  I’ve used them whole, adding them into savory dishes such as a flavor packed pulao (spiced rice dish).  They are a common ingredient in strong meat dishes such as lamb or goat. They go great along side citrus fruits like lemon and orange zest as well as rounder, warmer spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.



Health benefits:

1. Improves digestion
2. Beats bad breath
3. Relieves acidity
4. Calms respiratory illnesses
5. Lowers blood pressure
6. Regularise your heart beat
7. Fights anaemia
8. Detoxifies the body
9. Fights free radicals
9. Improves your sex life
10. Protects from cancer


Cardamom can be found in the whole spice aisle at the Indian grocery store. It is sometimes labeled as “elaichi”, the Hindi name for cardamom. Here is what green cardamom, green cardamom seeds and whole black cardamom look like, so it’s easier for you to find when shopping.

Green cardamom

Green cardamom

Black cardamom

Black cardamom Black cardamom

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