Cardamom is known as elaichi in India. It is usually added to traditional Indian desserts and other dishes for the strong flavor it imparts. It is not just the taste but also the health benefits of elaichi which makes it one of the favorite spice in India.
Types of Elaichi:
Green cardamom (Choti elaichi) – This elaichi is green in color and is the smaller one. It enhances flavors and has a pleasing aroma. It is usually used in drinks and desserts.
Black cardamom (Badi elaichi) – This elaichi is the bigger one of the two and is black in color. It is usually used when cooking spicy dishes because of its strong flavors. It is best used while cooking rice stews and curries.
Cardamom has a very strong flavor and taste, so very little needs to be added to a dish be it sweet or salty. It should be stored in pod form and should be ground just before adding to a dish as these lose the flavor very fast.
Cardamoms are used in a range of Indian spice mixes, curries, tea masala, sweets, pickles and also for baking.
- Lemon-cardamom cookies – These simple easy to cook cookies are made with butter, sugar, all purpose flour, lemon zest and ground cardamoms.
- Cardamom butter chicken – To cook this mouth watering dish you need chicken breasts, cardamoms, cloves, garlic, coriander, green chillies, onions, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon, tomatoes, curd and cream.
Benefits of Elaichi:
1. Improves digestion – Elaichi helps in stimulating and regular excretion of gastric enzymes in the stomach. It helps balance these acids and avoid gastric problems and providing relief from heart burns. Chewing an elaichi after meals helps people who suffer from flatulence and gas problems. Elaichi also helps with stomach cramps and helps relieve hiccups.
2. Anti spasmodic – Elaichi helps relieve stomach tremors and spasms. It also improves the blood circulation to our lungs and can be helpful for people suffering from sore throat, cough, bronchitis and asthma.
3. Detoxifying agent – Elaichi helps cleanse our body. It is considered to be a refinement general spice against caffeine. Elaichi also helps people quit their addictions like tobacco chewing, smoking, alcohol and even those with a sweet tooth.
4. Helps in oral problems – Elaichi helps cure tooth and gum infections. One of the most common benefits of elaichi is that it can be used as a mouth freshener. It also helps vocalists improve their voices.
5. Essential oils – Elaichi oil has anti depressant, antioxidant, antiseptic and anti ageing properties. Elaichi oil can be applied to a persons forehead to treat headaches. It can also be added to bathing water to help relieve stress, depression and fight common ailments.
6. Tonic – Elaichi helps enhance appetite. A well known benefit of elaichi includes decreasing nausea. It also helps relieve mouth ulcers. It helps with the functioning of our central nervous system and relieve weekness.
7. Source of Minerals – Elaichi contains calcium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and magnesium. These minerals help control heart rate and blood pressure. These minerals are also important for the everyday functioning of our body.
Benefits of elaichi have been known to mankind since ancient times. In Ayurveda, elaichi is referred to as tridoshic and is used to balance the three doshas of the human body. So when you add cardamoms to your dish you are also adding a number of health benefits as well.