Yesterday, I wrote about a white chocolate mousse flavoured with a hint of cardamom. Did you know that cardamom was a member of the ginger family? There are two types of cadamom: green cardamom (Elettaria) and black cardamom (Amomum). The type you buy over here in little jars is more likely to be the green variety. It's quite likely to have come from Sri Lanka too.
Cardamom has a deeply aromatic smell, which reminds me of menthol, or perhaps even mint. The pods contain seeds, which quickly loose their flavour once the pod's broken apart. It's also used to cure toothache, digestive disorders and skin conditions. According to Kew Gardens, it's the third most expensive spice in the world.
I like the fact you can use cardamom in both savoury and sweet dishes. If you're cooking basmati rice, try throwing in a few cardamom pods and a squeeze of lemon juice to give it an extra lift.