Cardamom maintains its pride by being the third most expensive spice after vanilla and saffron per unit weight. Cardamom confidently carries itself in the pods, retaining the aroma. But, once grounded or excluded from its pods; both the fragrance and flavor die. Its uses are not restricted to cooking and baking only. In fact, Cardamom is a premium used ingredient in perfumes and aromatic oils. Besides, it is a natural mouth freshener. Recently it has found a new place in flavored tea and coffee. But the question arises what can possibly be a Cardamom substitute? Let’s find out!
The Turn of Events
It is one of the oldest spices, almost 4,000 years old. The Egyptians used it for embalming rituals as well as medicinal purposes. Native to India and the Middle East, its first trade reference is from Sri Lanka.
Ginger being its ancestor, the cardamom family has two siblings, the smaller green and the large brown. The green cardamom is more commonly used in savory and desserts, as it is zesty like lemon or lime. The brown one is mostly added to meat items due to its smoky and slightly minty taste.
Initially used in Swedish cuisine to flavor drinks and make fragrant doughs, the Arabs fell for cardamom as did the Scandinavians. It has been the highlight of basmati rice in India and Pakistan and is used in sweet dishes like vermicelli. However, the price factor has led people to look for a cardamom substitute.
Here we will focus on the green cardamom. It is not easy to mimic the spice queen but some might do justice to her character. Let’s uncover the lead cast.
The nutty yet deep flavor, make it the closest match to cardamom. However, nutmeg comes from Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree whereas cardamom is originated from a herb. You can find nutmeg in both ground and whole form.
It will be your best friend in naturally overcoming anxiety and depression. As it contains myristicin and elemicin compounds that can relax your mind. Its natural oils are the most beneficial for beautiful skin.
Try replacing cardamom in your favorite apple cake, pasta, eggnogs, and pies. Grate it into any recipe calling for spice and let it scream holiday season.
Cinnamon, also known as “Ceylon Cinnamon” is the best choice when trying to replicate cardamom with something cozy and sweet. These magical sticks happened to grow in Sri Lanka formerly called Ceylon. Cinnamon was once more valuable than gold and traded as currency.
It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and releases digestive discomfort. It is a great cardamom substitute for crepes, porridges, confectionary items, and couscous breakfast.
Being members of the same botanical family named Zingiberaceae; ginger is definitely a close match. Ginger is most available in the form of roots while cardamom can be in seeds or powder form. It is cheaper to get hold of as compared to cardamom.
Ginger promotes sweating, treats nausea especially morning sickness, and helps in weight loss. I’m sure ginger is a part of all your keto diet recipes. Best to use in pastries, bread, and meaty dishes.
To get the exact taste of cardamom, one can use a combination of cinnamon and ginger. So if you were to use 2 portions of cardamom in your recipe. You can alter it by adding one portion of cinnamon and one portion of ginger.
Popular by the name of ‘pimento’, the allspice berries are dried, unripe fruits from a native tree of Jamaica. This humble berry is known for its versatile flavor making it a good companion of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a perfect option to use instead of cardamom.
There are numerous benefits of allspice, it helps to reduce inflammation and prevents the body from infections. Allspice flavors up a lot of Caribbean dishes; it brings big flavors in barbeques, tomato sauce, pickles, and corned beef.
The final showdown is between cloves and cardamom. Although both are used together in most recipes we can omit the counterpart in some. Cloves found their way from North Moluccas Islands and were named after their nail-shaped flower buds called ‘clavus ‘in Latin.
These are good for liver protection and diabetes management. Cloves enhance the flavors in soups, broth, and stews.
The warm holiday season has so much to offer, just like these spices. They are different from each other, yet adds a different delight to every meal of yours. They are commonly available in most supermarkets and reduce the burden on your pocket.
So let’s welcome these healthy and economical spices as a cardamom substitute to indulge in the delicacies of the season.