Chef David Lawrence

Our pal, Chef David Lawrence of Los Angeles, was thrilled when I chose to focus on the spice cardamom last month. I published his recipe for Masala Chai, but David wants to share another great recipe with Organic Authority readers.

If you haven’t yet picked up cardamom at your local organic or natural food store, you’re missing out on one of Mother Nature’s most versatile spices.

“Cardamom imparts a slight lemony-orange flavor and has a wide range of applications—from savory meat dishes to sweet pastries and beverages,” says David, a private chef, cooking instructor and coauthor of KidShape Café. (Visit his website for more information on the KidShape program.)

“Cardamom is widely available today in any well-stocked supermarket and comes both ground and as whole pods,” he explains. “I recommend the whole pods because the spice loses flavor quickly when ground. Although the pods may look a bit scary, they’re pale green on the outside and have sticky black seeds inside. They are nothing to fear and simply need to be crushed [to release the seeds] before adding them to a recipe. Look for the green pods, as they have slightly more intense flavor and fragrance than the yellow or white ones.”

Here’s Chef Lawrence’s recipe for Spiced Lemon Rice—a perfect weekend meal accompaniment.

Spiced Lemon Rice

Serves 4

1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 dried red chile
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 cardamom seed pods, crushed
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish

  1. Place rice in a strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan; when it’s hot, add the curry, chile, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, cumin and turmeric. Stir-fry for 20 to 30 seconds and add the rice. Stir-fry for two more minutes, taking care to coat the rice completely with the spices.
  3. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer over a low heat and cover pan tightly. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and keep covered, undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff rice with a fork and shower with chopped cilantro before serving.

Read More About Cardamom

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Pecan Streusel Topping
A Passage to India
Masala Chai
White Hot Chocolate
Cardamom Flan