It is one of the most valued spices in the world, native to the Middle East, North Africa, and Scandinavia. Cardamom pods were chewed as a mouth refresher from ancient times in India. They have a pleasant aroma with a characteristic, slightly pungent taste and leave a warm feeling in the mouth. It is the seeds, taken out from the fruit, which produce the warm sensation. They are dried fruits of the ginger family.
There are three types of cardamom—green, brown and Madagascar.
The fat green pods grown in South India are considered the best in the world. Green cardamom is available in the pod form or as powder. The whole pod stores better and retains the aroma of the seeds. Many Indian savouries and sweets are flavoured with cardamom. This fragrant spice is used in rich curries and milk-based preparations. In India, tea and coffee are sometimes spiked with cardamom. Around the world, green cardamom is used in spiced cakes and breads.