Cardamom

lat. Elletaria Cardamomum
Other names: cardamon, green cardamom, true cardamom

Group: SPICES

Cardamom Elletaria Cardamomum
Cardamom Elletaria Cardamomum
Cardamom Elletaria Cardamomum
Odor profile: the steam distilled essence from the fruit of the green cardamom, intensely sweet resinous-aromatic and slightly spicy, often used to aromatize coffee in the Middle East. notably featured in Cartier's Declaration.



Category: Spice
Family: Zingiberaceae
Names: Cardamom, true cardamom, green cardamom (English)
Desccription: Camphorated, aromatic, resinous
Extraction method: steam distillation
 

Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices and also the third most expensive one next to saffron and vanilla. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the Western Ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China, Tanzania, El Salvador, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Cardamom was well known in ancient times and the Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth, while the Romans used it for their stomachs when they over-indulged. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople, and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day.


There are two main types of cardamom, mentioned below, however there are in fact four related species distributed from Africa to Australia. Small green cardamom (Eletteria cardamomum) & Large red/black cardamom (Amomum subulatum or Amomum tsao-ko)
The most common type is green cardamom, it is a native of south-eastern Asia from India south to Sri Lanka and east to Malaysia and western Indonesia, where it grows in tropical rainforests. Black cardamom is distributed mainly in Asia and Australia with Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) bearing smaller pods that are primarily used in the cuisines of India whilst Amomum tsao-ko has larger pods that are most notably used in the cuisine of the Sichuan province of China. Both plants are from Zingiberaceae family.
 

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. From my description, green cardamom is minty and aromatic and I simply love chewing it and it’s something natural and safe that kills mouth odours of some strong foods like garlic and onions. While black cardamom is smoky and earthy in flavour and due to having strong taste andaroma, one can’t chew it. Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavour.


In the 11th century in India cardamom was included in the list of ingredients for panchasugandha-thambula or 'five-fragrance betel chew' in the Manasollasa or Book of Splendour. It was also included in recipes from the court of the Sultan of Mandu dating from about 1500. These recipes include sherbets and rice dishes flavoured with cardamom. True cardamom, also known as green cardamom, became an article of trade with South Asia in the last thousand years when Arab traders brought it into widespread use. Exports from the Malabar Coast, close to where cardamoms grew wild, were described by the Portuguese traveller Barbosa in 1524. By the time of Garcia da Orta in 1563 the international trade in cardamoms was well developed. In the 19th century British colonies established cardamom as a secondary crop in coffee plantations in other parts of India.
 

Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight, and little is needed to add the flavor. In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes as well as traditional flavouring in coffee and tea. In Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. In South Asia, green cardamom is often used in traditional Indian sweets and in Masala chai (spiced tea). And from my own experience, a cuppa spiced with cardamom adds a bright flavour to your senses when you are tired or feeling blue. 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.

A bite of the cherry from my country Pakistan, we use it in almost all sweet and savoury dishes to flavour. A dessert called ‘kheer’ which is incomplete without the flavour of cardamom is a must try. It is a well known and a ubiquitous dessert to both India and Pakistan. Talking of its traditional remedy, it is traditionally used to treat skin conditions and aid digestion.

      Cardamom in different languages:

French: cardamome
German: Kardamom
Italian: cardamomo, cardamone
Spanish: cardamomo
Burmese: phalazee
Chinese: ts’ao-k’ou
Hindi and Urdu: chhoti elachi, illaichi
Indonesian: kapulaga
Malay: buah pelaga
Sinhalese: enasal
Tamil: elam
Thai: grawahn, kravan

                   

                    Extraction Method:

Cardamom essential oil is extracted from Elettaria cardomomum by steam distillation from the seeds of the fruit gathered just before they are ripe. Valerius Cordus first distilled the essential oil in 1544 after the Portuguese discovered the East. Cardamom oil is sweet, spicy and almost balsamic in fragrance, is clear to pale yellow in color and slightly watery in viscosity.

After all its history and uses in food and medicine, how can perfumery leave behind? It adds freshness and the colour of brightness in men’s fragrances while in women’s fragrances, a little hand will add spice to her elegance.

 


Author: Naheed Shoukat Ali  (naheed)
Fragrantica Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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