The Queen of Spices" according to Indians, originated in the Cardamom Hills which dominate the plane of Kerala and the Malabar Coast in the south-west of India. It is of the family Zingiberacees and therefore a close relation to ginger, turmeric and maniguette.
Today cardamom is cultivated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and of course (India). The small cardamom pods grow on the aerial roots of the plant and are carefully gathered by the women and then dried in the sun. There are two types of cardamom, green and black. Black Cardamom comes from Nepal and with its dominant camphor aroma is of less gastronomic interest. White Cardamom pods are green cardamom with added starch or which have been soaked in milky quick-lime.
The tiny black seeds encapsulated in the green pod are highly aromatic with floral notes dans fresh tones of lemon and menthol, evoking eucalyptus. It takes about 40,000 of these seeds to make a kilo. They are traditionally used in India in confectionary and patisseries. They are vital to many of the mixtures of spice and indispensable to tea. In the Middle East cardamom is added to coffee.