Cardamom Key facts If a recipe states that you need the seeds only, you can separate them from the pods by crushing in a pestle and mortar; in south Asia, green cardamom is used in desserts and tea (chai); Guatemala is the world's largest producer and exporter of cardamom.

This is an Eastern spice that comes encased in its own sun-dried pods, which are pale green or grey. Inside there is a treasure of tiny black, highly aromatic seeds.

This is an important spice in curries, but it also turns up in sweet dishes – I once tasted a cardamom cake in which the flavour of the cardamom had permeated and mingled with the sweetness beautifully.

I almost always throw in the pods as well to get every bit of flavour.

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