Cardamom is one of the most common spices used in the world. There are two different types – green and black cardamom. As a spice which is made from the seed pods of different plants belonging to the ginger family, cardamom has a very distinct, pungent aroma and flavour. The taste and smell are often compared to a combination of mint, lemon and smoke. Even though lots of seeds can be found in cardamom, some people prefer to use the pod itself either whole or ground.
Cardamom is mostly cultivated in large quantities in the Western Ghats of South India. Even other countries such as Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Papua & New Guinea and Honduras also grow cardamom as a commercial crop but in much lower quantities.
Mostly, Indian dishes and Middle Eastern cuisine employ cardamom a lot in their cooking. Popular Indian dishes such as basmati rice and a wide range of curries are prepared by adding whole cardamom pods. Moreover, in many Middle Eastern countries, ground cardamom is a key ingredient in various desserts. Sweden is one of the biggest consumers of cardamom in the world, where it is used to as a seasoning for a wide range of dishes from meatloaves to hamburgers to baked goods. It is even added in eggnog, cider, mulled wine, tea and coffee.