To help you try new foods this year, we will be highlighting our favorite herbs and spices to cook with every month, and providing you with a recipe to try them out.
Have you ever heard of cardamom? If you have, then you know the unique and strong flavor it provides. If you haven’t, be prepared to experience a very new flavor. It has a spicy, herby, and citrusy flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.
One Tbsp of Cardamom provides 18 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein. It provides a trace amount of many minerals including iron, calcium, and magnesium [i]. However, its main benefit is the amount of manganese. Manganese is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant which helps protect cells, aids in metabolism of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and amino acids, and plays a role in bone development. In fact, it is one of the main elements that compiles bone structure.
In one study, patients with newly diagnosed hypertension (high blood pressure) were given 3 grams of cardamom daily over a period of time. Cardamom was associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure and an increase in antioxidant levels without any reported side effects [ii]. That little spoon of spice has a whole lot of power!
How to Use
Cardamom is most often used in Indian cooking, but can be found across the world. It can be used in sweet or savory dishes, such as in this spiced rice. When cooking with cardamom, keep in mind that a small amount goes a long way!
- 2 cups long grain or basmati rice, we used carolina
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 bay leaves / ground bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom spice
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 3 stems parsley for garnish (optional)
- Rinse rice well and drain.
- In a medium pan, put olive oil, bay leaves, pepper, cardamom and garlic powder, saute until fragrant. This happens very quickly so be careful not to burn the bay leaves.
- Add rice, salt, and water (according to amount in package directions) and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is soft and fluffy, about 15-18 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite lean meat, fish or vegetables and garnish with parsley.
[i] Spices, cardamom. Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/176/2
[ii] Verma SK, Jain V, Katewa SS. (2009). Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Indian J Biochem Biophys, 46(6):503-6. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361714