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Old 03-08-2008, 01:24 AM   #1
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Cardamom question

When grinding cardamom from whole pods, do you only use the inner seeds, or is it possible to grind and use the entire pod with hull? Some recipes I've looked at seem to suggest that you can do either, maybe I'm just misunderstanding.

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Old 03-08-2008, 03:56 AM   #2
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Everything I've read says to discard the pod because all the flavor is in the seeds.

ETA: Check this out, some good suggestions Whole Cardamom in the Pods - Home Cooking - Chowhound
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Old 03-08-2008, 04:43 AM   #3
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I use the seeds only also, Except when I use them in Cardamon Coffee, then I put a couple of whole pods in with the coffee beans and grind as normal.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:29 PM   #4
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The pods (I'm assuming green cardamoms) are hard (impossible?) to grind completely by hand or machine. Remove the seed (which are either orange or black) and grind away. Save the pods, they do contain essential oils, so can be used in coffee or to be extracted into oil.

Black cardamoms can be mechanically ground whole, I haven't tried to grind them by hand. The ones from China are softer, those from India/Nepal a little harder, which could be because they have been dried over a hot fire, that's why they can have a smokey aroma.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:29 PM   #5
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gotcha, thanks for the clarification on that. I'll save the pods to put in tea.
Its so much pod and so little seed. But it seems like the flavor is quite concentrated.

How many pods do you guys typically use to flavor a dish??

I made an Afghan stew and used seeds from 2 pods, I think one more wouldnt have overpowered it, but it was just enough to get a little cardomom flavor.
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:12 PM   #6
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unfortunately, the answer is:

it all depends.....

it depends on what the originator of the recipe intended, though IMHO, most recipes seem to go for a pretty standard amount, say 2 or 3 pods per dish for 4 people.

it also depends on the pods you are using, how old it is, where it was grown, variety etc. The amount of essential oil content varies, and the amount of each component in that essential oil can vary. It really is up to the cook to adjust to taste.

If you found it about right, for me, thats the best indicator. Note that aromas, by their very nature, are volatile, so how you cook it, and for how long, and whether you use a lid, etc., will all have an affect.

However, one big difference is due to when you add it to the dish. The main flavour component in green cardamom is a chemical called 1,8-cineol, better known as eucalytol. It is (nearly) a pure hydrocarbon, and dissolves in oil in preference to water. If you add the cardamom to the dish at the beginning of cooking, the flavours stand a much better chance of entering the oil/ghee than if you added the spice after water-based ingredients were added. Adding a sprinkling of powder at the end of cooking (like the modern craze for adding garam masala powder) will produce a different result, and may well unbalance the dish, flavour-wise.

HTH
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the in-depth info waaza, now that you mention this, I think I've noticed that difference a bit. The cardomom flavor in my Afghan stew was full flavored, but in my firnee it tasted very odd and diluted. Hmmm, I'm going to have to figure out a trick to get the firnee right.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:57 AM   #8
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you may be able to extract the cardamom flavour in a small quantity of cream. I suggest you snip off the tops of a few cardamom pods, and heat them in a pan with some double cream. Once boiled, leave to cool for the infusion to be completed. Then remove the seeds (hopefully still in their pods) and dilute the cream with skimmed milk, and make the phirni with this.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:26 AM   #9
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a quick question (and I think it belongs in this thread), is it just me or do cardamon seeds have an almost Menthol type smell to them?
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YT2095 View Post
a quick question (and I think it belongs in this thread), is it just me or do cardamon seeds have an almost Menthol type smell to them?
it's just you,YT,

the main flavour chemicals in green cardamom are cineol and limonene. The former is eucalyptol, so smells like eucalyptus. You may have got this confused with menthol (which is present in mint) because both are found in decongestant rubs like Tiger balm. The limonene smells like, well you guess

AFAIK, there is no menthol in cardamoms.
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