Green Cardamom – health benefits and uses of cardamom
Cardamom an aromatic fragrance spice
Cardamom (Eletfaria cardamomum Maton) the queen of spices, enjoys a unique position in the international market. Cultivation of cardamom is mostly concentrated in the evergreen forests of Western Ghats in South India. Cardamom is used for flavouring various preparations of food, confectionery, beverages and liquors. Cardamom is also used for medicinal purposes both in allopathy and Ayurveda . In the Middle East countries cardamom is mainly used for preparation of ‘Gahwa’ or Arab Coffee (cardamom flavoured coffee).
There are two kinds of cardamoms found in the spice world. Green or True cardamom (or small) cardamom belongs to the genus Elettaria. Large cardamom, Nepal cardamom or the black cardamom belongs to the genus Amomum
Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight, but little is needed to impart flavor.It has a strong,spice sweet taste and an aromatic frgarance. Specific use of green cardamom vary with different cuisines and cultures. Green cardamom is also known as Ealichi or vechi or elakkai in India. In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes, as well as traditional flavouring in coffee and tea. Cardamom pods are ground together with coffee beans to produce a powdered mixture of the two, which is boiled with water to make coffee.
Cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations,perfumery, health foods medicines and beverages.Indian cardamom enjoys a premium preference in the Middle East, Japanese and Russians who relish for its distinct enriching properties.Cardamom oil and oleoresin has applications in flavouring processed foods, cordials, and liquors and in perfumery and in Ayurvedic medicines.
Green cardamom pods are used in the preparation of sweet dishes in many Asian countries. Elaichi pista (cardamom and pistachio) kulfi is a famous summer dessert in India, Pakistan and Iran. Also, in these regions, elaichi kheer (cardamom pudding) with addition of pistachio and raisins is very popular. Cardamom is used as a flavouring base in the preparation of tea, coffee and cold drinks.These aromatic pods are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, which are essential for optimum health.