Turkish coffee and chai may not seem to have much in common other than that they are both beverages. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both are flavored with cardamom, a spice also known as one of the primary ingredients in curry. India and Sri Lanka are the major producers of green cardamom, or "Elettaria cardamomum," the most common form. Other forms include black cardamom and Madagascar cardamom, according to Food.com's Kitchen Dictionary.
Harvesting and Storing Cardamom Pods
Ground cardamom quickly loses is flavor, so you should store the spice in its pod form. Because they mature continuously rather than all ripening at the same time, pods are hand-picked. The effort required makes cardamom, also known as queen of the spices, the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla, according to Aliza Green in her book "Field Guide to Herbs and Spices." As with most spices, you should store cardamom pods in an airtight container away from heat or direct sunlight.
Using Cardamom Pods
Cardamom pods are sometimes roasted or fried and used whole in main-course dishes. Generally, cardamom pods are valued not for themselves but for the seeds inside. Each pod has around 20 small, dark and sticky seeds. Most recipes call for ground cardamom. Grind seeds in a coffee mill or with a mortar and pestle. Twenty pods yields about a teaspoon of ground cardamom, according to Food.com's Kitchen Dictionary. Ground cardamom appears in a variety of recipes. In Africa, the Middle East and India, cardamom is used to flavor a variety of beverages. Scandinavians use cardamom in cookies, pastries and other desserts. Cardamom is also a main ingredient in Indian garam masala.
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