Cardamom: Green Gold
With the first monsoon drizzle, milky cardamom chai begins to simmer in saucepans across India. The sweet fragrance of this precious spice takes tea from ordinary to exotic.
Here’s the recipe:
2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon strong black tea leaves
1 pod of green cardamom: crushed and powdered
A sliver of fresh ginger-root, crushed
sugar to your taste
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
Add the tea leaves. Let the tea leaves cook in the water on low heat for about 1 minute.
Pour in the milk, and simmer again.
Put in the cardamom and ginger.
Let the chai simmer at each step.
Then strain the tea and enjoy it hot, preferably with rain and soulful music!
Next: Wondrous Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom belongs to the Western Ghats, where it grew lush and wild long before we realised its wondrous qualities. Over the centuries, healers across the planet found ways to harness its goodness, and today, life is sort of unimaginable without the lovely cardamom.
Cardamom lavishes you with health benefits. This ‘warm’ spice, with its pleasant aroma and delicate flavour is already a staple in our chai, but it’s a good idea to think up ways to get more cardamom into our plates and bowls, because look at the health-pampering things it can do:
– It relieves stomach and menstrual cramps
– It improves digestion
– Brings relief from acidity. Bye-bye, heartburn
– Boosts blood circulation to the lungs
– Cures coughs and colds—just slurp some crushed cardamom with honey, and watch that cough vamoose.
Scent Your Romance With Cardamom
The Chinese mandarins are said to have chewed cardamom pods when they were granted an audience by the Emperor to ensure that their breath stayed fragrant when they stood before the ‘Son of Heaven.’ You can do the same on a date; Go on, pop a few cardamom seeds into your mouth, and munch. Now inch closer confidently…
And guess what, the Arabs believe it’s an aphrodisiac (sure, pop another one!)
Cardamom finds eminent mention in India’s oldest classical texts, the Vedas.
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world, second only to saffron!
The ancient Greeks and Romans used cardamom in perfumes.
The Romans realised that cardamom could counteract the effects of over- indulgence in drinking alcohol.
The Nawabs of Awadh, famed for their indulgent lifestyle, chewed green cardamom seeds covered in silver and gold leaves that had been dipped in tobacco-laced rose water for their daily nicotine fix.
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