A Passage to India

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If you had to pick the “hot” new spice for 2006, which would it be?

You may be surprised to learn that cardamom tops the list, according to chefs interviewed at a recent American Culinary Federation conference.

“Use of this spice is going through the roof,” notes J. Hugh McEvoy, a certified executive chef with the ACF. In fact, industry statistics reveal cardamom sales have increased 650% over the last year.

Cardamom is one of the most common spices used in Indian cooking, cultivated from the dried, unripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Tiny fragrant brown seeds are encased in green pods. (You may purchase cardamom as dried whole pods or ground seeds.) Many home cooks mispronounce the spice as “card-a-mon,” but notice that its name is correctly spelled with an “m” at the end.

Cardamom’s popularity may be attributed to Americans’ growing fascination with Indian cuisine, but it’s showing up in Asian, Arabic, Latin American and North African entrées, as well as Scandinavian desserts and coffee drinks, McEvoy notes.

This week, Organic Authority will feature a series of top chefs’ unique recipes featuring cardamom—from traditional Indian fare to one-of-a-kind desserts and spiced beverages. If you’d like to submit a recipe for consideration, please email me at organic@journalist.com. In the meantime, stock your organic pantry with this highly flavorful spice.

Sources for Organic Cardamom

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

Mountain Rose Herbs

Well, Naturally Products Ltd.

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