Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The thing I like about cardamom - apart from its delicious flavour and fragrance, - is that according to a thirteenth century medical manuscript, it helps with ‘wamblyng and indygnacyon of the stomak.’ Herbs and spices were, of course, commonly used as medicines in the past, and over recent times there has been a resurgence of interest in their potential medical applications. I don’t know if there is any good scientific evidence for the use of cardamom in cases of wambly or indignant stomachs, but I will watch out for it eagerly.

The Oxford English Dictionary acknowledges the medicinal applications of cardamom:

A spice consisting of the seed-capsules of various species of Amomum and Elettaria (family Zingiberaceæ), natives of the East Indies and China; used in medicine as a stomachic, and also for flavouring sauces and curries. (Rarely applied to the plant from which the spice is obtained.) The only kind included in the British pharmacopœia is the Malabar cardamom, obtained from E. cardamomum.

One thing is for sure, if cardamom once again becomes a prescription item, it will not need a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. But the admixture of a little turmeric, cloves, mace and black pepper will surely always be a welcome idea, as in the following fine recipe for ‘kedgeree’ from the Practice of Cookery, by Mrs Dalgairns, 1830.

Boil a quarter of a pound of split peas till they be tender; drain them in a cullender. Wash very clean a pound of rice; chop the peas finely, mix them with the rice, and season with a little turmeric. Fry in an ounce and a half of butter, a minced onion, and of cloves, mace, cardamom, and black pepper, when pounded, half a tea- spoonful each; stir them constantly, to prevent their burning. Season a quart of veal stock with salt and pepper; put in the rice and the fried onion and spices; cover the stew-pan closely, and let it simmer till the rice becomes tender and dry. Serve it with a cup of oiled butter.
Quotation for the Day.

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.
Erma Bombeck.


Liz + Louka said...

Curry spices do go nicely with cardamom, but the spooonful of sugar is good too. I love how it's used to flavour Scandinavian biscuits.

Shay said...

I think I will use that as the reason the next time I take a sick day. Let HR figure out what wambling and indignation of the stomach are.

Auntie Kate said...

My ex loathed curry powder, so the day he took off, my sister brought over a small jar full of it. I still have that jar. I call it "hemorrhoid repellent". I'm going to be cremated, and I'm considering having my ashes mixed with it, and some sent to him.