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close up of cardamom pods
4min read

A Guide To Cooking With Cardamom Pods: The Spice That Warms You Up

by Toni Olukiran

4min read

Wondering what cardamom is and how to cook with it? We’ve got you covered. Check out this guide for everything you need to know about this warming, aromatic spice, complete with vegan dishes using cardamom that we know you’ll love.

What is cardamom?

Cardamom pods are small, triangular seed pods that come from plants in the Zingiberaceae family, otherwise known as the ginger family. Native to tropical Asia, cardamom is prevalent in many traditional dishes across the continent, but is particularly found in Indian cooking. However, it is also an important spice used in Middle Eastern dishes as well as Nordic countries where it is typically used in baking. It is the third most expensive plant in the world, after saffron and vanilla, because it needs to be picked by hand, and is therefore very labour-intensive. Guatemala is currently the world’s biggest producer of cardamom, followed by India.

Cardamom has a very distinct and powerful taste, making it a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s punchy without being physically spicy, which adds a lovely warming element to dishes. It has a floral note to it— almost minty, too, which is why it works in so many different types of cuisines. Earthy, sweet and truly fragrant, cardamom is a great spice to get familiar with to elevate everything from your favourite curries to your star bakes.  

What you need to know about buying cardamom

Cardamom is readily available in supermarkets, both in pods and powdered form. You’ll also find it in your local continental supermarket or world food store. Cardamom pods are probably the easiest to find but naturally require more prep when cooking with it than powdered cardamom. Also, bear in mind when deciding which to buy that ground cardamom can lose its flavour more quickly than the pods. 

What you need to know about cooking with cardamom pods

Cardamom pods are pungent and bitter if bitten without cooking them first, so make sure if you are using them in your cooking, they have enough time to soften and release their flavours. Make sure to crack them open or bruise them slightly with the side of your knife when slow-cooking in curries or sauces so that the flavours can be released properly. You can also toast them to enhance flavours and release the oils of the seeds before adding to curries and stews to get the most out of the pods.

Vegan recipe using ground cardamom

Vegan cinnamon buns

close shot of cinnamon buns

These vegan cinnamon buns are a perfect example of how cardamon can be used in a sweet treat for a warming and spiced dessert. Sticky, sweet and perfectly soft, these cinnamon buns are the ultimate treat to bake this autumn.

Vegan recipe using cardamom pods

Cauli Tikka Masala

cauli tikka masala on white plate

Tried the cauli tikka masala from allplants and want to recreate it at home? Use our recipe for a beautifully fragrant curry, containing a rose petal masala blend that uses cardamom pods for that distinct earthy flavour. Invest in the ingredients and you won’t regret it!


By Toni Olukiran
Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni

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Plant Power

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