You have patiently waited several weeks to determine what the queen of spice is! Well, here is the answer: Cardamom! This spice, also referred to as the “Grains of Paradise”, is known to man since ancient times. In India some people even carry tiny silver boxes of cardamom seeds as a mouth freshener. After dinner cardamom is chewed to clean the palate. Cardamom adds an appealing flavor to foods and aids in digestion.
There are many varieties of cardamom, the true one being the green cardamom. Indian rice and vegetable dishes, desserts and Indian tea (known as Chai) are often flavored with cardamom. A cardamom pod is really a dried fruit. Cardamom pods are all oval shaped capsules containing between 10 to 40 hard dark brown seeds that cling together. Cardamom is available in the form of whole pods and in powder form. (Grind the seeds from the pods in a small food processor to make cardamom powder.) Store cardamom in a clean, dry jar.
Chai is served anytime with our without a meal. Around the world, it is used in cakes and breads. Cardamom is also an essential ingredient in garam masala ( an aromatic spice blend often used in North Indian cooking).
Indian Chai (Cardamom flavored hot tea with milk is a perfect beverage to relax with)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 or 2 strong black tea bags
1/4 cup 2% steamed milk
1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add cardamom to the boiling water.
2. Immerse tea bag to the boiling water. Let tea simmer in hot water for a few minutes.
3. Add steamed milk according to your taste.
4. Strain tea and cardamom. Pour the tea into a cup. Add sugar to taste. Stir and serve.