Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Cardamom – Kardamo

Greek name and pronunciation:

Karthamo, κάρδαμο, pronounced KAR-thah-mo (hard th)

At the market:

Dried cardamom seeds, unshelled and shelled are usually available in small containers, as is powdered (ground) cardamom. Sometimes, pods (containing 15 to 20 seeds) are available. Powdered cardamom should be a last choice because once the container is opened, it quickly loses much of its potentcy and flavor.
Cardamom - Kardamo

Cardamom – Kardamo

Physical characteristics:

Cardamom has a pungent aroma and a complex flavor suggesting traces of eucalyptus, camphor, and lemon. Dried cardamom pods are usually black, sometimes green, and contain two seeds, which are round, brown-black in color, and about 1/16-inch diameter. A member of the ginger family, this bush grows from 6 to 16 feet in height, has dark green leaves from 1 to 2 inches in length, with small yellow flowers.


In Greek cooking, ground cardamom seeds are used in sweet and salty baked goods, in lemon cakes, and fish marinades (for its lemony flavor).


Equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg, or equal parts ground cinnamon and cloves

Origin, History, and Mythology:

Originating in the tropical rain forests of southern India, today cardamom is also cultivated in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo-China and Tanzania.

Spice traders on the Indian continent call cardamom the “queen of all spices” – perhaps because cardamom has traditionally been one of the highest priced spices.

Cardamom seeds were chewed by ancient Egyptians to help clean their teeth and were used in perfumes developed by ancient Greeks and Romans.

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