Cardamom is known as the queen of spices. Cardamom pods were chewed as a mouth refresher from ancient times in India. Cardamoms are dried fruits of the ginger family. Each cardamom pod contains several dark brown seeds which contains all the flavour.Several varieties of cardamom are grown in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The fat green pods grown in Kerala, South India are considered the best in the world. Green cardamom is available in the pod form or as a powder. The whole pod stores better and retains the aroma of the seeds. Both Indian savouries and sweets are flavoured with cardamom. This fragrant spice is used in rich, red curries and milk based desserts. In India, tea and coffee are sometimes spiked with cardamom. Around the world, green cardamom is used in spiced cakes and breads.
Brown cardamom pods are larger than green cardamoms in size and are hairy. In fact, they look like tiny fibrous coconuts. Brown cardamom is medicinal in flavour. In India, it is used only in savouries, especially to flavour rice dishes like biryani. Along with green cardamom, it is an essential ingredient in garam masala (which is a blend of mixed spices). The seeds of the green cardamom are powdered, so they can be added to desserts to desserts and into garam masala.