DWARF CARDAMOM Alpinia Nutans
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Mondays Flavor is Cardamom
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More about CardamomCardamom (or cardamon) refers to several plants of the similar genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, Nepal and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds. Today, the majority of cardamom is still grown in southern India, although some other countries, such as Guatemala and Sri Lanka, have also begun to cultivate it. Elettaria pods are light green while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.
It is the world's third most expensive spice by weight, outstripped in terms of its market value by only saffron and vanilla.
Food and drinkCardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more smokey, though not bitter, aroma with a coolness some consider similar to mint.
Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight, but little is needed to impart the flavor. Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavor. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available and is an acceptable substitute. For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of ground cardamom.
It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking and is often used in baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. 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 is used in some extent in savoury dishes. In some Middle Eastern countries, coffee and cardamom are often ground in a wooden mortar, a mihbaj, and cooked together in a skillet, a "mehmas," over wood or gas, to produce mixtures that are as much as forty percent cardamom.
In South Asia, green cardamom is often used in traditional Indian sweets and in Masala chai (spiced tea). Black cardamom is sometimes used in garam masala for curries. It is occasionally used as a garnish in basmati rice and other dishes. It is often referred to as fat cardamom due to its size. Individual seeds are sometimes chewed and used in much the same way as chewing gum; it is even used by Wrigley's ('Eclipse Breeze Exotic Mint') where it states "with cardamom to neutralize the toughest breath odors." It has been known to be used for gin making.