Cardamom

Cardamom is a warming spice, contributing the sweet and pungent tastes. It has a sharp flavor and is used extensively in desserts, especially in India and the Middle East.

According to ayurveda, cardamom is tridoshic (good for balancing all three doshas), but people trying to keep Pitta in balance should eat it in smaller amounts. Cardamom is considered an excellent digestive, especially beneficial in reducing bloating and intestinal gas. It is excellent for balancing Kapha, particularly in the stomach and the lungs. It is also useful for pacifying Vata. The seeds are often chewed to refresh the breath.

Cardamom tastes best freshly powdered. It combines well with other sweet spices such as fennel and with pungent spices such as cloves. It can be used in baking, in sweet sauces and puddings, and in milk shakes that include fruits and nuts. Crushed cardamom can be used as a topping for fresh fruits and fruit salads. Try a large pinch of cardamom in lemon juice as a dressing on a carrot-raisin salad. Cracked cardamom pods add flavor to rice if dropped into the water at the start of cooking.