An aromatic spice from south-western India. Cardamom seeds are contained in small pods about the size of a cranberry. The spice has a pungent aroma and a warm, spicy-sweet flavour and is widely used in Scandinavian and east Indian cooking. Cardamom can be bought in the pod or ground but, as the ground seeds soon lose their flavour, it is preferable to use the pods, either removing the seeds and grinding them or grinding the whole pod, quickly done with a pestle and mortar. If using cardamom to flavour dishes such as stews and curries, lightly crush the whole pod and add it to the mixture: the shell will disintegrate while the dish cooks. Be frugal when using cardamom – a little goes a long way.
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