So I recently started experimenting with cardamom.
If you haven't tried it, or think you haven't, then you probably didn't know you were eating some in that Indian take out you ordered. Or maybe you had a hint of it in the Middle Eastern dishes you tried. It's often used to flavor meat and vegetable dishes, coffee, teas, and baked goods. It is a main ingredient in garam masala and masala chai. It gives Arabic and Turkish coffee their unique flavor.
Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and we use its seed pods for flavoring. It's native to Southeast Asia, but due to cultivation, currently the largest producer of cardamom in the world at the moment is Guatemala. It takes about three years of growth to produce the capsules containing the seeds. These are harvested, dried in the sun, and sorted according to color: green, black or white.
The taste of it is strong, unique, with an intensely aromatic scent. The scent, and the flavor, tends to be warm and smokey, yet citrus-y or lemony, with an odd sweetness to it. It's usually sold in pods as the seeds then keep their scent and flavor longer than ground cardamom.
It's also really good for your health.
According to mercola.com, due to its composition, cardamom contains a high dose of manganese, has been used as an antidepressant, can improve circulation, can support gastrointestinal disorders, and can support your respiratory system. Not too shabby for a little seed pod.
It also tastes really good in chocolate.
I was going to a friends place tonight and wanted to bring something made with cardamom. I had recently purchased cardamom essential oil and wanted to try it out in something yummy that felt holiday-ish, wasn't too heavy, and was easy to munch without much mess.
Hello popcorn. Meet dark chocolate.
1. Pop your corn. Don't buy pre-popped corn. It's just not as good. Use medium heat to ensure no burning and give your pot a shake now and then so it heats and pops evenly.
2. Melt your dark choc chips over a double boiler or in the microwave in short 20-30 second bursts. Stir to ensure it's melted and mixed in. Add in your drops of cardamom and tangerine and mix.
3. Lay down some wax paper on a cookie sheet or counter top. I had a little helper, so the cookie sheet came in handy to keep things contained.
4. Spread the popcorn over the was paper and, using your spoon, drizzle the chocolatey goodness over the top. My little bird got pretty good at the drizzle and didn't lick the spoon once!
5. You can pop the pan in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate set or, seeing it's December, just put it outside for a few minutes instead!
Break up any big clumps as needed and then store it in an airtight container, or just eat it all right away cuz it's just that dang yummy. Keep reminding yourself of all the good health benefits of cardamom while you're at it.
I also made another batch of a blend of peppermint and clove essential oils. That was just as delicious. You could add in nuts, flaked coconut or myriad other options, but the popcorn, dark chocolate, cardamom and tangerine mixture was just right for us today.
Tried it? Liked it? Tweaked it? Let us know!