Cooking with cardamom

Cardamom is such an amazing spice.  I just love its distinct flavour.  Apparently it’s the world’s third most expensive spice by weight!  A well-deserved title I think.

I went a bit crazy with it tonight, cooking two recipes that involved it – one was a spicy chicken recipe which I cook every so often, and the other was a pilaf which I had not tried before but was delicious.  My husband really liked it as well so looks like that recipe’s a keeper too!  Both of these recipes come from some old Taste magazines.

I find that it’s really worth buying the whole cardamom pods and then taking the time to split them open to get the seeds.  It’s a better flavour and it really keeps its fragrance for a long time in the pods.


Spicy chicken drumsticks on a bed of pilaf with cardamom and pine nuts

Spicy chicken drumsticks on a bed of pilaf with cardamom and pine nuts


Spicy chicken


Serves 6-8



6 chicken drums and 4 thighs, skin on and bone in

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

12 whole cardamom pods, split to release seeds

1/4 tsp each: ground cinammon, ground cloves and ground mace

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 Tbsp plain yoghurt



Rinse chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.  Mix all the spices in a large bowl with salt, garlic and yoghurt.  Marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fanbake).  Bring chicken to room temperature, then place in a large shallow roasting tin lined with baking paper.  Bake for about 45 minutes, turning several times during cooking, especially towards the end.

Check that the chicken is cooked all the way through, remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.




Pilaf with cardamom and pine nuts


Serves 4



2 1/2 Tbsp butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely crushed

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds

1 C jasmine rice

1/4 C currants

finely grated zest 1/2 lemon, plus extra for garnishing

2 C light chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 C pine nuts

sea salt



Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp butter, let it melt, then add onion.  Cook gently until softened, then increase heat a little and let onion colour to pale gold.  Add garlic, cumin and cardamom seeds and cook for 1 minute.  Add rice, currants, lemon zest and stock.

Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to very low and cover pan with a lid.  Cook for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave rice for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add remaining butter.  Once sizzling, add pine nuts and cook gently, turning often with a spoon, until lightly golden.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, then sprinkle with sea salt.

Fluff up pilaf with a fork, transfer to a heated bowl and scatter the pine nuts over the top.  Garnish with lemon zest and serve immediately.


Cooking with cardamom

4 thoughts on “Cooking with cardamom

  1. Audrey – I made this last night for dinner and it’s absolutely gorgeous! The tastes of cardamon and other spices combined with the pilaf is just lovely: the sweetness and spice worked so well together.

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