The cardamom plant, a member of the ginger family, originated in India. The aromatic seeds are called ‘Seeds of Paradise’
in the Orient, and have a cool but pungent flavour. They are used in flavouring pullaos and biryanis, in curry powder
blends and in other forms of Indian cooking. In Scandinavia, Germany and Russia, cardamom seeds are incorporated in
liqueurs, cakes, biscuits and pastries.
Cardamom seeds are very hard and have to be crushed before being used -this can be done with a wooden spoon. A teaspoonful
may be added to a pastry mixture before the liquid is added. Cardamom may be used in gingerbread, coffee cake, fruit
dishes or in rice pudding. A few crushed seeds may be handed with sugar for black coffee.
The seeds lose their flavour quickly once they have been crushed. They should, therefore, be bought in the pod and crushed
only just before they are to be used. Jars of ground cardamom can also be bought.