Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
This spice has a really unique wonderful taste and an extreme aromatic aroma. Cardamom is commonly known as the world’s 3rd most expensive spice. It is very popular in India, Finland, Sweden and middle eastern countries and is used in many different cuisines.
The seeds of this spice come in a green pod and are usually best kept this way as its flavours diminish over time. You can also buy cardamom seeds already ground. These are great to use if your not planning on storing them for any length of time. Obviously the ground cardamom is very convenient as you do not have to worry about grinding it first.
Heart health- Because this spice has rich antioxidant properties it can aid in maintaing a healthy heart. It is also able to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels which are important tributes to heart health.
Bad breath- Chewing on these seeds eliminates bad breath. It has been used wildly in South East Asia not only for curing halitosis but also to fight tooth and gum decay.
Detox- This spice is great for helping the body to detox by eradicating unwanted chemicals and waste through the kidneys. Which in turn can speed up the process of weight and fat loss.
Vitamins- A, C, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin
Minerals- Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Zinc and Potassium
You can buy cardamom online. It is available as green pods, seeds and ground powder. These quite often come in a jar or bottle that is convenient for the spice rack at home. If using the seeds you will need to use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to make a usable powder.
There are many different ways cardamom is used. It is quite often found in Indian cuisine and is often cooked with the whole cardamom pod. This spice is also great to use with meats, bread, cakes and coffee. Just as an added note, this spice is strong in flavour so be careful!
I think cardamom goes great with chicken and I have an easy to make sauce that I like to put with the chicken to cook in the slow cooker for 8 hours. It can also be cooked in the oven if you choose. Bearing in mind cooking times are different if using a conventional oven. This will take approx 1 hour at 180°C or 350°F. Also don't forget to start cooking your rice after 30 minutes if using the oven method, or cook your rice 30 minutes before the cooking has finished.
Serves 4 people
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 boneless chicken thighs
60 grams skinned almonds blanched
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1-2 teaspoons of cardamom ground or powder
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
350 ml natural yogurt (plain)
Small bunch fresh coriander chopped
Sea salt to taste
Using the top of the cooker, put a large frying pan on to a medium to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once hot, place the chicken thighs into the pan and brown. Remove and place into the slow cooker or casserole dish.
Add the rest of the olive oil to frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the onions. Cook until soft or roughly for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook a little. Now add the cardamom, black pepper, ground coriander and the almond to the pan and cook until the nuts start to change colour.
Take the frying pan off the heat and put the mixture with the yogurt into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sea salt to taste.
Now you can pour the sauce over the chicken thighs put the lid on and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the chicken.