How do you use cardamom pods?

If a recipe calls for cardamom pods, are you supposed to crack them open before you add them, or throw them in whole? I know this is a seemingly simple question which should be answerable by 30 well-spent seconds on Google, but for the love of Og I can’t find an answer to this anywhere. Any Indian cooks or chai latte aficionados out there who knows for sure?

I generally throw them in whole, possibly smooshed slightly. Unless the recipe calls for the seeds.

Cardamom pods are good for infusing in liquids, but, like bay leaves, they are too strong to bite in, so they should be removed before serving.

The seeds have a very strong flavour, if you remove them from the pod (fresh seeds are black and a bit sticky) and grind them up in a little stone or porcelain whatdoyoucallit. Then you can use them as powder. Pre-ground caradamom loses its flavour quickly, IMHO.

A mortar and pestle. :slight_smile:

Last night, my Turkish Coffee had two little whole pods in it.

I like to squish the pods open to allow the milk & water mixture (presuming making chai) to reach the cardamom seeds and therefore get the flavour of the seeds. I strain the pods/seeds out afterwards.

For curries, usually I stir-fry the pods (without smooshing) with other dry spices (e.g. cinnamon bark, curry leaves) and that will pop the pods open for the rest of the cooking.

When I’m making “real” chai (as opposed to using syrup or teabags) the cardamom pods go in whole but cracked, as I’m straining out the chai afterward.

When I’m cooking with them, they get cracked again & go in whole but then don’t get eaten. If I’m lazy, then cardamom powder it is.

I’m back with your lab results. What I have is a recipe for 7-spice pilaf that calls for a ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom. Ground cardamom is about $15 for a small bottle, and as was already pointed out, not very flavorful. Since the recipe calls for 2 cups of broth, I simmered 2 cups of water and threw in 5 black cardamom pods. I let it simmer for 20 minutes, removed it from the heat, and let it steep for an additional 20 minutes. There is about a cup of liquid left, and it is the color of heavily steeped tea. It has a pleasant burnt hickory-like smell, and a mild astringent taste. The pods themselves swelled up to about 5 times their original size, but did not split open. So the flavor components will migrate through a pod’s unbroken shell. There’s not much flavor though, so phase II will involve smooshing them with pliers. We’ll see what happens.

I’ve taken my mom’s tack-for curries I take out the seeds and mortar and pestle them. Save the pods. These we dump in kheer and pulao and also in masala chai.

She dumps the emptied pods back into the same container but I put them in a different one. Sorting through a pile for a non-empty pod is so irritating when the rest of the spices are burning on the range.