History/Region: One of the world’s most ancient spices, green cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant and is native to southern India. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople [modern Istanbul], and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day. Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight, but little is needed to impart the flavor.
Uses: Cardamom is a key ingredient in sweet baked goods in Scandanavia, like holiday Julekake and Finnish pulla. In the Arab world, ground green cardamom is used in strong brewed coffee and in rice pilaf. In India, green cardamom features prominently in all kinds of curries, spice mixes, sweet treats and Masala chai spiced tea. Amusingly, green cardamom is also an ingredient in Wrigley’s Eclipse Breeze Exotic Mint chewing gum.
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon extra finely ground coffee (powder consistency)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, or 1 cardamom pod
- Sugar (optional)
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Remove from heat and add coffee and cardamom.
- Return saucepan to heat and allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat when coffee foams.
- Again, return to heat, allowing to foam and remove from heat.
- Pour into 2 cups, and allow to sit for a few minutes for the grounds to settle to the bottom of the cups. If using a cardamom pod, it can be served with the coffee for added flavor.
**Turkish coffee must always be served with foam on top.
If you can’t find finely ground Arabic coffee, you can purchase a bag of coffee at any coffee house and ask them to grind it for Turkish coffee. You need to have a powder-like consistency.
Do not stir after pouring into cups; the foam will collapse