Cardamom is a beautiful spice to include in winter with its peppery and citrusy flavours. Originally from the Indian sub-continent, you get both green and black forms, which are available at most grocery stores. Green cardamom is better suited to sweet and savory dishes, whereas black cardamom is considered more ‘smokey’ and best in savory meals.
Green cardamom is a regular ingredient in masalas and curry combinations, and is well paired with other warmer spices of cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla. Add green cardamom to warm milk for a comforting drink in winter (a lower calorie alternative to some hot chocolate drinks) or combine it with spices and make a spicy milky tea (e.g. chai, YOGI or masala tea).
Recently, there has been more scientific interest in the use of cardamom for health purposes. Initial studies in rats and mice have shown some positive benefits on cancer cells (Qiblawi et al 2015), and reducing the effects of metabolic syndrome (hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia; Bhat et al 2015). Although further research will be needed, the effects may be attributed to it’s antioxidant content.
Cardamom and Honey Milk (serves 2)
- 2 cups milk of choice
- 8 green cardamom pods, smashed and the brown seeds removed to use (about 1/2 teaspoon of the brown seeds)
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or split/chopped vanilla pod (for a stronger flavour, you can scrape the seeds out)
- Combine the milk and cardamom seeds in a small pot and heat until just warm. Take off the heat, and stir in the honey. Let steep for 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla (if you want your milk hot, rather than warm, you can reheat at this point) and then pour through a small fine sieve into two cups. Serve right away.
Note: You can ‘ring the changes’ by adding ginger/cloves/ cinnamon/ cocoa/nutmeg or even coffee.