Cardamom is an aromatic spice that one generally associates to the Middle East and the sub-Indian continent. It is widely used in many cuisines, therefore it is quite handy to know all the different types of cardamom substitutes. You can use cardamom in food, in drinks, or as medicine. In some places of the world, people even smoke it – believe it or not!
Because the flavor of cardamom is so specific, you need to know exactly which cardamom substitutes are most suitable for the dish or drink that you are trying to replicate. Find out all there is to know about cardamom and I hope you find the perfect cardamom substitute that your are looking for.
most expensive spice
Cardamom is also known as cardamom and cardamom. The word itself is derived from the Latin word ‘cardamomum‘, where ‘card‘ which means ‘cress‘ and ‘amomum‘ refers to a specific spice plant. Did you know that cardamom one of the world’s most expensive spices? In fact, with respect to price per weight, it is only surpassed by vanilla and saffron. Not to worry, cardamom substitutes won’t be as expensive!
To learn more about cardamom, click here.
what does cardamom look like
The cardamom plant has long green broad leaves that can grow quite large. It is native to Asia, more specifically southern India. Today, it is still cultivated in this region. However, farmers grow it commercially all around the world.
When it comes to the seeds, you can recognize cardamom by its green or brown/black pods. They are almost triangular sometimes and have a very thin outer shell.
Cardamom has a very specific flavour, that’s why it belongs to one of the favourite spices in the world. When you eat a cardamom pod, or ground cardamom as well, you’ll see that at first, the spice releases a very pungent and aromatic flavour. Once you let it settle in your mouth, you’ll see that there are subtle hints of citrus notes, mint and even some notes of smokiness. It’s a very fragrant spice that has that ‘wow’ factor when it comes to seasoning food. That’s why your cardamom substitutes need to be equally powerful to match the strong herbal flavour profile of the cardamom.
types of cardamom
There are in fact two types of cardamom. The first being the green cardamom. You might also know it as the ‘true cardamom”. You can find it in the regions between India and Malaysia. Green cardamom is the more expensive and the more popular one. It is harvested when it is young and generally, one uses the whole pods. Its powder is often used in the Middle East for sprinkling desserts.
The second type of cardamom is black or brown cardamom. The pods are larger and more robust. They are native to the Himalaya region all the way to India. When it comes to black cardamom, the pods are generally dried and used more for savoury dishes. You can use black cardamom for medicinal purposes when it comes to curing digestive problems. All you boil the pods in boiling water and make a black cardamom tea.
Cardamom has always been regularly present in Asian cuisines, especially those of India and the Middle East. It is a favourite amongst savoury and sweet dishes. For example, many people top rice with cardamom for extra fragrance. In other dishes, you might find it in sauces, garam masalas and tagines. You’ll even find it ice creams, cakes, macaroons. You name it! In the Middle East, people drink coffee with cardamom – Arabic coffee. So, it is a very versatile ingredient that will elevate any dish or drink once you add the cardamom in. In fact, I am sure that you’ve come across cardamom in a dish before. Can you think of your last cardamom dish? Leave a comment below!
Ginger is in fact a related species of plants when it comes to cardamom. When it comes to cardamom substitutes, it is best to use ground ginger. To replicate the flavour of cardamom, combine half a tea spoon of ginger with an equal amount of ground cinnamon. This way, you’ll be able to replicate the strong aromas of cardamom. Why not include this spice mixture in this sugar free angel food cake?
Mace is also a good cardamom substitute, however only when it comes to baking. In terms of look and feel, the mace also contain pods which are lighter in colour. Try it and see how it goes.
We all know cloves for their distinct aroma and sharp flavour. Comparatively, it make an excellent cardamom substitute when it is in its ground form. Combine the ground cloves with a bit of ground cinnamon and use it for savoury dishes such as stews or curries. For example, this lamb stew would pair perfectly with hints of cardamom.
apple pie spice
Again, apple pie spice makes a good cardamom substitute when baking pies or making dried fruit compotes like these. You can also experiment and sprinkle some apple pie spice over vanilla ice cream when you are missing green cardamom powder.
Combine all spice and some freshly ground peppercorns for some sharpness. All spice is considered as one the best cardamom substitutes for heavier meat dishes and stews, like this one.
With the right amount, nutmeg is a worthy cardamom substitute. The best is to ground it yourself as it releases most of its sharp flavours this way. Perfect for desserts. If you need cardamom for a savoury dish and you only have nutmeg at home, combine with ground coriander powder and some peppercorns.
Cumin is a very popular substitute for cardamom in India. For example, if you want to sprinkle ground cardamom over some roasted vegetables, you can easily substitute with cumin, just like in this cumin roast carrots recipe.
I believe after reading about these cardamom substitutes, you can tackle any cardamom recipe you might have in plan for lunch or dinner.