When you buy cardamom, you’ll find green and black varieties. Green cardamom, a.k.a. “true cardamom,” can be widely used in savory as well as sweet dishes. Black cardamom, which comes from a different species, is larger, with a slight smoky taste on top of its floral notes, and is more often used in savory foods. Cardamom commonly appears in South Asian, Middle Eastern and North African dishes, as well as in sweet Scandinavian treats. It falls into the category of “warming spices,” which also include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove — the sort of flavors you would favor for an autumnal pie, sweet rolls and pastries.
You can buy cardamom already ground, or grind it yourself using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Once you learn what cardamom can do, you’ll find yourself naturally reaching for it. I sometimes sprinkle ground cardamom into hot chocolate, on top of a slice of toast with nut butter or even into banana bread to partner with cinnamon.
Read on for some great ways from our archives to incorporate cardamom into your culinary repertoire. For even more recipes featuring cardamom, head to our Recipe Finder.
Baked Chicken Curry. From our Essential Cookbooks newsletter comes this favorite from “At Home With Madhur Jaffrey.” Jaffrey elegantly balances spices including cardamom for a simple weeknight dish.
Aviary Glogg. This celebratory Scandinavian punch is warmly spiced for the holiday season.
Yemeni Spice Blend (Hawaayij). Exact spice amounts for Hawaayij vary from family to family, but this ratio from cookbook author Amjaad Al-Hussain is just right for all sorts of meats, lentils, roasted vegetables and eggs.
Persian Baklava (Baghlava). For celebratory occasions such as Nowruz (Persian New Year), this super-floral sweet is a popular treat.