Huh? Whah? Why?
I know that cardamom is not a very oft-used spice in American cuisine, but I've grown to love it because of a trip to Turkey, my love for Indian food and my Swedish heritage.
In Turkey, I fell in love with the STRONG Turkish coffee. It is made by boiling water with ground cardamom and ground (very strong) coffee in a small brass pot with a handle. It is drunk unfiltered, so you leave the grounds at the bottom (or otherwise peel yourself off the ceiling 30 minutes later). What a delish combo: coffee and cardamom. Apparently, this is common throughout the Arab world.
Indian cooking uses it mainly in sweets, as well as the fabulous Chai tea which also consists of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in many recipes. Sometimes black cardamom is used in garam masala for curries.
(Photo: This isn't the Miele espresso machine I ordered...Old School Turkish Coffee Pot- microscopic single serving!)
Swedes use it in sweet rolls, cookies and cakes of all sorts. Some meatball recipes also call for cardamom- no wonder they are world famous! It sounds weird, but trust me- it's amazing. Apparently the vikings brought it back to Scandinavia because of the extensive trade route they had developed with India and the far East...who knew!?
Even though it's still 80-100 degrees here is So Cal, I am getting that "Fall feeling". For me, cardamom fits the bill for Autumn cooking. Lately I've been throwing cardamom onto or into everything. I've used it in morning green drink, my Smoothie-In-A-Bowl, even on top of my coffee foam (replacing the rainbow sprinkles). I plan to roast some veggies with some cardamom (and other spices)- I'm thinking winter squash, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips- YUM! A Chai-inspired winter squash soup also sounds tasty to me.
Sadly, I have not found cardamom pods (not ground) here in the USA, so once I'm finished with my stash that I brought from my last trip to Sweden, I'll be using ground cardamom instead. Grinding the pods fresh makes a big difference in taste.
I have also been using more cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can use powdered cinnamon or nutmeg, but I've been using the whole versions in the smoothies because the VitaMix can handle it. This way there are still little tiny crunches of cinnamon surprise left to enjoy. Did you know that cinnamon is actually pretty spicy if you get a little "bite" of it? I didn't!
(Photo: green smoothie with cardamom)
(Photo: Green smoothie with cinnamon)
Kabocha squash with Greek yogurt and Peanut butter mixed ground cardamom. (yes I even put the cardamom INTO the PB) ... SOOOooo yummy! I love to make my own nut butters, so it's an easy addition: click here to see more on nut butter making.
Question: Is there a spice or herb that you just love that may seem a bit "different" in the way you use it?