Cardamom, the Wonder Spice of Indian Food

Green CardamomAn ancient Indian spice, cardamom or elaichi, has a strong exclusive taste and intense aroma. There are two main types of cardamoms, small green cardamom and big brown cardamom. It is one of the most expensive spices of India.

Cardamom belongs to the ginger family and its plant grows up to 12 feet tall. It is a common ingredient used in Indian cookery. It not only enhances the taste but also adds a beautiful aroma to the food along with its many health benefits.

Green Cardamoms – These are used whole as well as in powder form throughout India. The seeds inside the pod are rich in flavor. You need a small quantity in order to get that wonderful flavor. The pods must be stored as such since the flavor is lost rapidly when the seeds are exposed or ground. Grind small quantity of the spice just before adding it to the dish.

Green cardamoms are used in salty dishes like curry, rice, vegetables and in sweets and desserts as well along with almonds and saffron. It is also used in tea, ice creams and custards.

Brown Cardamoms – These are larger in size and the flavor is sweet lemony. It is used in curries, meat dishes and rice. It is one of the ingredients of Garam masala.

Health Benefits of Cardamoms

In Ayurvedic medicine cardamoms are used for treatment related to mouth ulcers, bad breath, digestive problems like loss of appetite, depression, nausea etc.

  • Oral health – When chewed after a meal it acts as a breath freshener. It also helps to cure mouth ulcers and other infections of the mouth like the infection of teeth and gums. Chewing green cardamom helps to get rid of bad breath.
  • Diuretic & Detoxification – Its diuretic property helps it to act as a detoxifier. It helps the body to get rid of waste, salt, excess water, toxins, calcium and urea collected in the kidneys. It also helps to clean the urinary tract.
  • Depression – Drinking tea with cardamom helps to improve the mood and reduce depression. Add powdered cardamom to boiling water to prepare cardamom tea.
  • Digestion – Cardamom is alkaline so it helps to neutralize digestive problems like acidity, gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, loss of appetite etc. It stimulates the digestive system. Cardamom tea helps to relieve headache caused due to indigestion.
  • Blood Pressure – Cardamom helps to lower blood pressure since these are diuretic and rich in fibre.
  • Antioxidants – The vitamins, essential oils and phytonutrients found in cardamoms act as antioxidants. These help to clean up the free radicals and oppose cellular aging.
  • Expectorant – People suffering from asthma benefit by cardamoms as these improve the circulation of blood to lungs.
  • Improves voice – Cardamoms are beneficial to singers since it helps to improve the quality of voice.

Conclusion

It is not a secret anymore that Cardamom has a lot of medicinal and health values. Hence this spice is used by more and more people, not only in India but other countries as well. Ramdev Food is a reputed brand in the world of Indian Spices. For more details and availability of all types of spices, masalas and instant mixes, visit – http://india.ramdevfood.com/products-availability.html

The Right Ways to Use Spices in Cookery

Same recipe cooked by different people tastes different. Cooking is a skill, an art which one can learn by experimenting and using different spices and herbs. There is a whole range of spices to choose from but one has to know these spices and their correct usage.

Spices add flavor, colour and taste to a dish. One has to understand the right ways to use these spices. Always use herbs and spices discretely, more does not mean more taste, it can spoil the taste of the food.

Ways to add spices to Food for maximum flavor:

  • Use spices and herbs to improve the natural aroma of the food, do not mask the flavor.
  • Crush dry herbs just before adding these to the food. This gives a better flavor. Fresh herbs must be added at the end of the cooking for maximum aroma.
  • Do not use two strong flavoured herbs together. Always use one strong flavoured and one herb or spice with mild flavor.
  • While removing spices or herbs from the container use a dry spoon.
  • To get a blended flavor add herbs at the beginning of the cooking. But if you want a distinctive flavor then add herbs at the end of cooking.
  • Whole spices are best to use in dishes that take long to cook as these discharge the flavor slowly.
  • Ground herbs and spices give out flavor very easily and fast. In dishes that take long to cook like curries and stew, add ground spices towards the end of the cooking.
  • Foods that are not cooked or cold dishes like salads, fruits and juices, add spices and herbs many hours before the food is served to allow the flavous to blend well with the food.
  • While following a recipe, if you increase the quantity two times do not use double the amount of spices, add only 50% more.

All spices do not serve the same purpose. Ginger and garlic enhance the taste of the food, makes it taste rich, the food tastes spicy with chilli powder and with amchur powder (dry mango powder) the food tastes sour.

Foods and Spices

  • Black Pepper powder – For a more peppery taste grind the pepper fresh before adding to the dish. Long cooking reduces the flavor and taste of powder pepper, so add powder pepper towards the end of cooking.
  • Ginger  – For baking ginger powder can be used but for curries and dishes use fresh ginger for maximum benefits.
  • Saffron – The threads of saffron should be soaked before adding to a dish towards the end of the cooking.
  • Coriander leaves – To retain the maximum flavor of these leaves add them to the dish at the very end of the cooking and just stir them into the dish.
  • Whole spicesWhole spices like cinnamon, cloves and whole pepper corns can be added to a dish when liquid is added to it.

Conclusion

Different spices serve different purpose, flavor and taste to different foods. You need to experiment with various combinations of spices and herbs to get your perfect dish. So go ahead add some mew herbs and spices to your dinner and see the difference.

Use the Right Spices and Herbs for a Wonderful Dish

Every dish you cook will taste different when different spices are used. Spices and herbs add that extra taste and flavor to the food. The taste and flavor of the food improves when these are used in right combination with right food.

Most of the herbs can be got fresh as well as dried. Fresh herbs and spices have stronger flavor. Dried herbs give better flavor when used with water, oil or butter.

Different parts of the plants are used as spices, which are used in dried form. Cardamom, coriander, cumin are seeds of the plant, saffron is the stigma of the flower, cloves are the buds, ginger and turmeric are roots and cinnamon is the bark of the tree.

Right Use of Spices and herbs

Sweet spices – Some spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, are known as sweet spices and they taste good with sweet dishes, cakes, cookies, etc. These spices also blend well with salty dishes like curries, rice, roasted dishes, etc.

Whole spices – Whole spices give out more flavour when they are simmered in the food slowly, for a longer time.

Ground spicesSpices in powder form can be added to a dish at any time during cooking. Freshly grounded spices have more aromas.

Spices – used in food

  • Bay leaves – These have a unique flavour and aroma and are used in curries, soups, sauces, rice.
  • Cardamom – It is one of the most popular spice and has a strong exclusive taste. It is used in sweet dishes, pickles, curries, meat, spice cakes, soups, tea, rice etc.
  • Chilli Pepper – These are available from hot to mild variety. It is used in almost all salty dishes to add hot flavor like curries, soups, dry vegetables, meat and egg dishes.
  • Coriander – Coriander is used fresh or in dry form, whole seeds or powder. It has a mild unique taste like that of a lemon and sage. Seeds taste good in poultry, fish and in dry vegetables. It is also used in curries and dry vegetables.
  • Anardana – These are the dry seeds of pomegranate fruit. It adds a sour taste to the food. It is used for making sweet and sour sauce, in vegetables, chutneys, etc.
  • Black Pepper – This is used in foods all over the world. It has a sharp aroma and pine like flavour. It is used whole or in powder form in meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, soups, and sauces.
  • Cinnamon – It is used in pies, stewed apples, pan cakes and puddings. It is also used in curries, stews, sauces, vegetables, tea, etc.
  • Cloves – It is used in sweet as well as in salty dishes. It is used in sauces, soups, curries, plum pudding, cakes, tea, green vegetables etc.
  • Cumin – It is the second most popular spice in the world. Name an Indian dish and cumin is a part of it. It is used in soups, curries, vegetables, curd, chat, tomato sauce, meat dishes.

Conclusion

Spices are wonderful agents to flavor food, they also enhance the flavor of other ingredients. But remember not to add too much of any spice. Be creative, experiment with spices and create your own dishes.

Enjoy the Exotic Cuisine of the Land of Rajas, Rajasthan

Rajasthan, Rajputana, the land of Rajas or kings is a state pulsating with life. The people are friendly and affable by nature. The beauty of the golden sands of the desert, the plush palaces and havelis add magic to the exquisiteness of this land.

The cuisine of Rajasthan is rich, exotic and mainly vegetarian. A variety of curries and sweets, a range of unique, spicy and rich dishes are prepared here.

The vegetarian food is mainly of two types, food for common man and food for Marwari Jains. An assortment of spices and herbs are used in the food prepared by the common people while the food prepared by the Marwaries is cooked without onion and garlic. Popular dishes include gate ki sabzi, khichra, dal bati churma etc.

People here also savor non-vegetarian food prepared from lamb, chicken, pea-cock etc. Some well liked dishes are safed maas, maas ki kadhi, laal maas a very spicy dish, etc. In the kitchens of Rajas, the recipes of the dishes were passed on from father to son and these were not disclosed to others.

Due to the shortage of water and green vegetables in the desert area, butter milk, butter and milk are used during cooking. Pulses, beans, gram flour and spices like garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, red chillies etc. are commonly used.

Cuisine of different places:

Jaipur – The pink city of Jaipur is known for its vegetarian cuisine as well as the sweets. The most popular dishes are Dal Bati Churma, Ghevar  and  Dal ki Kachoudi. Kachoudi and Jalebi are served for breakfast.

Jodhpur – Jodhpur is known for its spicy and sweet dishes. Every meal starts with a sweet dish like ladoos, and ends with Dal Batti. Creamy lassi is also served with the meal. Pyaaz kachouri, Besan ki chaaki, maakhan vade are some of the popular food items of Jodhpur.

Jaisalmer – The cuisine here is traditional and reflects the rich cultural inheritance. The vast assortment of dishes is prepared with fewer amounts of oil and lots of chilli. The food is spicy and hot. Some of the popular dishes are Ker Sangri, Kadi pakora, and bhanon aloo.

Some popular food Items of Rajasthan:

Rajasthani Dal – This dal is part of the famous Dal Baati recipe. It is prepared with Bengal gram, green gram, ginger, turmeric, asafetida, cumin seeds, onion, red chillies, amchur, ghee and salt.

Ghevar – This special sweet dish is generally prepared during the festivals of Teej and Rakhi. It is made from maida, corn flour, ghee, sugar, milk, kewra essence, soda bicarbonate, silver vark, and almonds.

Ker Sangri – This is prepared from dried ker (beans), dried beans (sangria), yogurt, olive oil, cumin seeds, red chillies, garlic paste, ginger, turmeric, coriander, amchur, garlic and salt.

Jodhpuri Vegetable Pulao – This recipe is from the royal kitchen of Rajas. It is prepared with cauliflower, fresh green peas, basmati rice, cumin seeds, ghee, fennel seeds, raisins, cashew nuts, almonds, dried dates, ginger paste, yogurt, garam masala, black pepper corns and salt.

Conclusion

So, if you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, you must try some of these exotic Rajasthani dishes like gatte ki sabzi and kadhi. The beauty of this desert region enthralls your heart and soul. To get the best taste in Rajasthani Food items, one must check the Ramdev food Masalas.