Here at The Chai Bar we love cardamom!! Second only to ginger, it is loved for its flavor profile and its potential health benefits. Growing up, Madura, the founder of The Chai Bar, rarely had the opportunity to enjoy cardamom. Due to its expensive nature, cardamom was a luxury spice, purchased and used only when making specialty spice blends for celebratory meals. It was a true luxury of her childhood to have a meal or chai that contained cardamom. Still today, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices that is sold- it is third behind saffron and vanilla. It is such an honor to produce chai that contains cardamom- the Queen of Spices! Read on for all the cardamom love!
Cardamom is the shining star of our blend, Shakti, our black chai that is combined with ginger and cardamom, a perfect complement as they are both members of the Zingiberaceae family of plants!
We also carry our own selection of whole cardamom pods, perfect to add to your savory cooking and sweet baking (check out our blogs for recipes inspo). These pods can be “bruised” by pressing a knife against the husk, gently breaking them open and releasing the oils, to add to your favorite curry or simmering sauce. It’s a wonderful addition to savory dishes.
Our newest addition to The Chai Bar family is Kali Cardamom Sugar. This spiced sugar is a complement to increase the cardamom flavor in any of our chai blends, baked goods, or recipe you make at home.
Kali Cardamom spiced sugar is sure to become a shining star here at The Chai Bar. Along with our popular Lava Lavender sugar, Rani Rose sugar, and Gini Ginger sugar, Kali will promise to bring the party to any item you want to sprinkle it onto!
In this blog we will share history, travel, origins, recipes, fun facts and uses of cardamom and cardamom sugar so make sure to read till the end.
Let's get baking with cardamom sprinkled chocolate chip cookies so you can eat, read and sip all things cardamom just like us!
Cardamom Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 350℉
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar, with 2 Tbs. removed
- 2 Tbsp. Kali Cardamom Sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Set this aside.
- In a different bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, 2 Tbsp. Kali Cardamom sugar, and brown sugar. Add 2 eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend. Add in the semisweet chocolate chips.
- Add parchment or silicone liner to your favorite baking sheet. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of cookie dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Before baking, sprinkle the unbaked cookies with Kali Cardamom Sugar, then bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool cookies on a cooling rack before storing in an airtight container.
Try Kali sprinkled on lemon cakes, blueberry galettes, or ice cream!
Don’t forget to share your Kali Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies with us on social media! #thechaibar #KaliCookies
Why Cardamom? The History, Fun Facts and Benefits
Cardamom, Elettaria Cardamomum, is a spice that has been used for thousands of years. It consists of an outer shell that contains small black seeds within. These seeds are highly aromatic - some think the scent is reminiscent of camphor. Cardamom belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of plants, predominantly known as the ginger family.
There are two main types of cardamom: green and black. Green cardamom is the most common variety, and it is used in a wide range of dishes across the world. It has a sweet, floral flavor with hints of citrus, and it is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Black cardamom, on the other hand, has a smoky, earthy flavor and is mainly used in savory dishes like stews and curries. It is also used to flavor teas and coffees in some parts of the world.
Cardamom has been used by many people, spanning many cultures and thousands of years! It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians used this spice as a medicinal and for rituals. It’s been used by various cultures as a tooth and mouth freshener, the oils used for perfume, and it is used in cooking and baking around the world!
Cardamom can be found growing in India and South Asia, however, it is commercially grown in Guatemala and India, which produces most of the world's cardamom. Today, it is still used as an oil added to scent perfumes and candles, as well as in both sweet and savory dishes! Let’s explore some of the benefits to using cardamom.
- Cardamom is one of the world's most expensive spices, second only to saffron. This is because it is a labor-intensive crop that requires hand harvesting and careful processing.
- It's commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, but it's also a popular ingredient in Scandinavian baked goods. In fact, cardamom is so important in Scandinavian cuisine that it is known as the "queen of spices."
- Cardamom comes in two main varieties: green and black. Green cardamom is more commonly used in cooking, while black cardamom is typically used in savory dishes like stews and curries. Green cardamom has a sweet, floral flavor with hints of citrus, while black cardamom has a smoky, earthy flavor.
- In ancient times, cardamom was used as a tooth cleaner and breath freshener. It was also used as a perfume and incense.
- Cardamom was once so highly valued that it was used as a form of currency in some parts of the world. In fact, the ancient Greeks and Romans used cardamom as a form of currency in trade with India.
- Fragrances and Perfumes: Cardamom's distinct aroma makes it a popular ingredient in fragrances and perfumes. It is often used as a top note in many perfumes and can be found in many Indian attars (perfumes made from natural ingredients).
- Ayurveda: Cardamom is also a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian system of medicine. It is believed to have a warming effect on the body and is often used to balance the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha).
- Personal Care: Cardamom oil is often used in personal care products like soaps, lotions, and creams due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Refreshments: Cardamom is often chewed as a mouth freshener in India, particularly after meals. It is believed to help freshen the breath and aid digestion.
- Cooking: As mentioned earlier, cardamom is an essential spice used in Indian cooking. Indians use it in a variety of dishes ranging from biryanis, curries, and sweets to drinks like chai.
Due to the high antioxidant content in cardamom, researchers have started to find that it is beneficial for the body in a variety of ways. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, potentially cancer fighting, aids in digestion, increases oral health, and possibly improves heart health!
If you want to make a cup of Shakti and become an armchair traveler, especially if you're a cardamom lover, you'll want to go to the Malabar Coast in southern India. This is where most of the world's cardamom is grown, and you can visit spice plantations and see how the spice is harvested and processed. You can also visit the Cardamom Hills in Kerala, a stunning mountain range that's home to some of India's most beautiful tea and spice plantations.
Cardamom is an essential ingredient in Indian cuisine, where it is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Here are some of the most common ways that cardamom is used in Indian cooking:
- Biryanis and Pulao: Cardamom is an integral part of many biryanis and pulaos. It is used to flavor the rice and gives the dish a delicate aroma and sweet taste.
- Masala Chai: One of the most popular beverages in India, masala chai is a spiced tea made with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Cardamom gives the tea its distinct flavor and aroma.
- Ladoos and Barfis: Ladoos and barfis are traditional Indian sweets that are made with different ingredients. Cardamom is often added to these sweets to give them a sweet and aromatic flavor.
- Kheer: Kheer is a rice pudding that is flavored with cardamom, saffron, and other spices. The cardamom adds a subtle sweetness to the dish and complements the creaminess of the pudding.
- Garam Masala: Garam masala is a blend of spices that is used in many Indian dishes. Cardamom is one of the key ingredients in this spice mix and gives it a sweet and aromatic flavor.
- Curries: Cardamom is used in many Indian curries to add flavor and aroma. It is often used along with other spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric to create complex and flavorful dishes.
- Desserts: In addition to the sweets mentioned above, cardamom is also used in many other Indian desserts like gulab jamun, rasgulla, and rasmalai. It adds a sweet and fragrant flavor to these dishes and enhances the overall taste.
Overall, cardamom is a versatile spice that is widely used in Indian cuisine. Its distinct flavor and aroma make it a must-have ingredient in any Indian kitchen.
Cardamom is a spice that truly has it all: history, culture, cuisine, and health benefits. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a curious foodie, there's no better time to spice up your life with this exotic and versatile ingredient. Go grab our delicious cardamom and Kali cardamom sugar and experience the magic!