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Cardamom is a very popular spice that is used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine, both in sweet as well as in savoury dishes. It is one of the basic ingredients of garam masala.
The dried fruit, used as a spice, comes from the plant of the same name and it belongs to the same family as ginger and turmeric. The fruit is shaped like a greenish-grey capsule (pod) and it contains dark brown aromatic seeds.
Cardamom has a distinct fragrance, strong, yet not spicy. It should therefore be used in moderation. It is better to buy pods and remove the seeds and grind them as and when required, rather than buying the easily available but less fragrant powdered form. You can use whole cardamom pods in stews, slitting them open slightly so that the seeds tumble out during cooking.
Small tip: Chew some cardamom seeds after eating, in order to make your breath fresh and to neutralize onion and garlic odours.
Chicken in a spicy and creamy sauce. Also known as «Chicken Makhani», it is a classic Indian dish with many different versions. This one I have inherited from my grandmother.
This Indian recipe is beautifully scented and not piquant, which makes it a great hit with all my guests.
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on May 8, 2010.