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Ingredient of the week: Cardamom

 Green cardamom has a strong, sweet flavour with hints of mint and lemon (Photo: Shutterstock)

Originating from the ginger family, this spice can be used whole in its pod or in powder or seed forms. Cardamom comes in various colours; green, which is known as the “true” cardamom, black and white. They all give distinct but different flavours. Black cardamom gives off a smoky flavour. Green cardamom is often used to make sweet and occasionally savoury dishes. Its flavour is sweet and strong with hints of mint and lemon. White cardamom is the watered down version of green cardamom.

Cardamom, iliki in Swahili, is used to flavour tea, sweet dishes, meat dishes, pastries, rice dishes and more. One of my favourites is mandazi with cardamom, and pilau when the pilau masala has cardamom blended into it.

Salmon recipe: Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius. Combine cardamom, olive oil and maple syrup or light honey then whisk. Brush your piece of salmon with the cardamom syrup, on both sides. Bake until firm but still pink.

Like all good things, cardamom has several health benefits. It aids in digestion, lowers hypertension and helps with sleep problems.

In pod form or powder form, cardamom is a must-have ingredient. It is inexpensive and is readily available in shops and supermarkets.

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