photo credit: gourmetsleuth


Cardamom (frequently misspelled and mispronounced "cardamon") is the common name for several plant species native to India and southeastern Asia. Cardamom is used for their aromatic pods and seeds. According to Encarta Online "The true cardamom has large leaves and white flowers with blue stripes and yellow borders; it grows to about 3 m (about 10 ft) in height. The fruit is a small capsule with 8 to 16 brown seeds; the seeds are used as a spice." Scientific classification: Cardamom belong to the family Zingiberaceae. The true cardamom is classified as Elettaria cardamomum.

Culinary Uses

Cardamom is spice used in countries throughout the world but most prominently in India and Europe.   In India, whole pods, green or brown are fried to extract the flavor and added to curries.  In Europe the seed is used to flavor breads and pastries.

Be conservative when using cardamom because it can be quite overpowering when over-used.

Green Cardamom  Brown Cardamom Cardamom Seed Ground Cardamom
 green cardamom pods brown caradmom pods  cardamom seed  ground cardamom
Commonly used in Indian cooking.  Whole pods are fried to bring out the flavor.  Pods may be ground with other spices to make a curry.
Used primarily in Indian cooking in savory dishes such as biryani, and some rice dishes.
Cardamom seeds are used in European and Middle Eastern cooking typically for breads.
Ground cardmom has the least flavor but may be called for in dessert and some savory recipes.

Where To Buy Cardamom

Purchase cardamom seed or ground cardamom in most grocery stores.  Whole pods, green or brown can be found in India or Asian grocery stores.

Ground cardamom is the most perishable so it is best to purchase in small amounts and discard after 3 months.  The seed will last longer and can be ground.  The whole pods can be stored at least for a year.

Nutrition Information For Cardamom

Serving Size
1 tbsp, ground
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Featured Recipe

Cardamom Spice Blend

BowlFood Cookbook - Use this mixture in a warm carrot or squash soup. 


  • 2 tablespoons ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground 
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric 
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

Combine all the spices in a dry medium skillet over medium heat and heat, shaking the pan continuously to prevent burning, until the spices are fragrant and just beginning to smoke, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the spices to a bowl to cool. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container


Credits: "Cardamom," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.