Cooking with different spices is a fantastic way to experience global flavors, especially in 2020 when leaving home is harder than ever). But with so many in your pantry, it can be difficult to keep track of what they are and what they taste like. One to spotlight? Cardamom!
It’s been used for centuries to jazz up coffee, rice dishes, and pastries all over the world—but want to know what it actually is? We spoke with Ethan Frisch, co-founder of Burlap & Barrel (a single origin spice company), about what cardamom is, what it tastes like, and where it originated to help break down the multifaceted spice. Frisch works directly with smallholder spice farmers around the world to source the most unique ones, so he knows his way around a spice rack.
What is cardamom?
Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of the cardamom plant, a close relative to ginger and turmeric, that is native to South India. The triangle-shaped pods are made up of spindle-shaped clusters of seeds with a thin outer shell that can be enjoyed both whole or ground. The spice is frequently used in both sweet and savory dishes in global cuisines from India to the Middle East to Scandinavia, says Frisch.
What does cardamom taste like?
Frisch says that cardamom has a complex aroma with a piney, fruity, and almost menthol-like flavor. When used too much, it can be slightly astringent. It pairs wonderfully with citrus, and works well in both desserts and savory dishes.
Where does cardamom grow?
Cardamom is native to South India and is produced widely there, but most of the cardamom we buy in the United States actually comes from Guatemala. That’s because German settlers brought it there in the early 1900s to grow alongside their coffee crops, explains Frisch. As it turns out, the cardamom plants flourished in Guatemala, and the country has since become the largest producer of cardamom. The funny thing? Almost all of Guatemalan cardamom is exported, and it isn’t used much in the local cuisine. Cardamom thrives at altitude and is also grown in higher altitude areas in China, Laos, and Vietnam, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Are there different types of cardamom?
Yes! There are two main varieties of cardamom (black and green) with two sub-varieties (yellow and white). Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is the variety most commonly sold in your local spice market, and it’s the type most commonly exported from Guatemala. It’s also the variety most commonly used in Indian cooking. It works well in both sweet and savory dishes, and can be used whole or ground. White cardamom is the bleached version of green cardamom, which has notably less flavor and is grown in hotter, more tropical climates.
Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) goes through a drying process that imbues it with a very pronounced smoky flavor. Most of the smokiness resides in the shell of the pod, while the seeds bear more in common with the green cardamom’s aroma.
What can I make with cardamom?
The spice lends itself to both drinks and food. It’s a key component of the chai spice mix, so you’ll be able to taste it in chai lattes and masala chai. Feeling like tackling a bigger kitchen project? Try this cardamom pistachio kulfi (a traditional South Asian ice cream made into popsciles) or this warming sweet potato and chickpea curry. For more ways to use this spice, check out these recipes as well as our video above!
Rice has been considered as a primary source of food globally for thousands of years. In India, Bangladesh, China and many other asian countries use rice as the main dish in a meal. We can find hundreds of rice recipes and savor their delicious taste and benefits. There are many varieties of rice-based on colors, sizes, and shapes. White rice and brown rice are the most common varieties. Today we are going to discuss about health benefits of brown rice
What is brown rice?
Brown rice is a dehusked and unpolished rice produced by removing the outer layer- the hull of the rice kernel. This procedure helps brown rice to keep its nutritional value high. It is chewier as compared to white rice and has a nutty flavour. Germinated brown rice, also known as ‘sprouted brown rice’, may be a healthier version which can be prepared at home. It can be stored in dried form to increase its shelf life without affecting its advanced nutritional worth.
The high nourishing content of the germinated version is considered to be due to the presence of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The germinated form can be obtained by soaking and sprouting of the brown rice in water for a specified number of hours. This method has been considered best for obtaining the maximum amount of GABA and elevating the levels of proteins and beneficial enzymes in the germinated variety.
The process of germination also leads to a significant increase in essential components such as ferulic acid, lysine, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B 6, thiamine, and dietary fiber. These nutrients are thought to contribute to better absorption during digestion and prevent intestinal irritation, inflammation, and allergies.
Why Eat Brown Rice?
When compared to white rice, it is considered to be healthier and more nutrient-rich. Some of the stands out attributes may be the quality and quantity of nutrients it offers. The process of milling that converts the brown grain into white rice strips away most of its nutritional value. It thus retains the immense treasure of healthful constituents. There are many varieties available in the market with their unique flavor, aromatic components, and varied concentration of fatty acids.
Brown Rice Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA FoodData Central, this rice flour may be rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and potassium. Its reach in B-vitamins – vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate – vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K. It is a source of protein and contains a good amount of fiber. Along with this, it is also a provider of fatty acids.
Health benefits of brown rice
Brown rice might not be as tasty as white rice. But the nutritional benefits of brown rice can convince you to make slow and steady changes in your diet. Here are the unknown health benefits of brown rice –
May Helps to weight loss
Brown rice is one of the famous food used for weight loss. It is rich in dietary fibres that help to keep you full over a longer time, so choosing fibre-rich foods may help you consume fewer calories overall. Replacing brown rice with white rice can help to reduce your belly fat too. Different studies suggest that people who eat more brown rice weigh less than those who eat white rice.
May Controls blood sugar level
To control blood sugar naturally, include low carbohydrates and fats in your diet. Brown rice is the best option for it. It is beneficial to control blood sugar levels as it has a low glycemic index. A low glycemic index means the food you consume digests slower and it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike after that. Studies show that by eating three servings per day of whole grains like brown rice, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 32%. Brown rice contains phytic acid, fibre and essential polyphenols that help in the slower release of sugars, keeping us healthy.
May Aids digestion
Brown rice is a helpful staple that can be easily added to the daily diet to optimize the digestive system. The fibres present in brown rice helps to regulate intestinal movements and keep your bowel movements regular. They have excellent results to cure colitis and constipation.
May Controls cholesterol levels
It is a preferable choice for many people because it contains a low level of cholesterol. The oil present in brown rice is known to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) to a large extent. The fibre in brown rice binds to the cholesterol in the digestive system and helps in its excretion.
May Neuroprotective effective
Brown rice helps to cut down the risk of cognitive dysfunction and neurodegenerative disorders. They are rich in fibres that lower the cholesterol levels known to add to the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. This rice can help cut down on cholesterol by replacing it with healthier nutrients, such as fibre. It is also beneficial in treating various diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. They also help to cure depression, anxiety or stress.
May Improves maternal health
Brown rice works amazingly in postpartum depression. Consumption of this rice showed positive results in nursing women to improve disturbed mood, stages of depression and fatigue.
May Maintains bone health
Brown rice is rich in calcium and magnesium helps to maintain bone health. It is helpful to treat medical conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
How to Select and Store Brown Rice?
Brown rice contains essential natural oils that have the potential to go stale if stored for too long. It is advisable to check the expiry or ‘use by’ date to ensure freshness. Raw grain can be stored for up to six months in an airtight container at room temperature to keep the freshness intact. To extend its shelf life, it can be refrigerated.
Cooked rice should be stored with caution. Incorrect storage of cooked rice triggers the growth of bacteria called Bacillus cereus which can cause food poisoning irrespective of reheating. It should neither be stored at room temperature and nor reheated more than once.
It is generally hypoallergenic and does not contain any significant amount of disturbing elements such as purines or oxalates. If you are looking for more information on how to germinate brown rice, head right here.
How to cook brown rice?
Brown rice requires a longer cooking time and more water because of its outer fibrous coating. For one cup of rice, you may use two and a half to three cups of water. Prior soaking of brown rice cuts down the cooking time. Soaked brown rice would take about 35-40 minutes to get ready.