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White Cardamom

What to do with it!

Here’s a new one on me, white cardamom. I’ve used green cardamom for years and it is one of my favourite spices, the black cardamom less so. But white cardamom? I bought some from one of my French speciality suppliers in London this week out of sheer curiosity…

white cardamom

What I wanted to know was if it was more like true cardamom (the green pods) than the equally pungent but less attractive black variety. Well it is more like the former, very much more like the former because according to Madhur Jaffrey’s excellent ‘Ultimate Curry Bible’ it is nothing more than bleached green cardamom! Doh!!

It seems that the pods are blanched for ease of use in sweet preperations when the natural colour of the sauce or ice cream wants to be maintained. Cardamom is an excellent addition to a custard/ice cream or with a hot apple tart, stick a bit of ginger in there whilst you’re at it.

So there you go, I’ve been stiched, I’ll be having a word with that French bloke…..



  1. greedydave says:

    Unlucky Miles.

    Bleached green cardamom or not, we’re getting very close to hot summertime evenings when a long, chilled cardamom lassi (with perhaps a drop of booze) will be the only solution.


    May 2, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  2. miles says:

    Sounds good to me! and when it’s not so hot how about a mug of hot, cardamom flavoured chai?
    Think you’re lassi sounds more appealing, must be the booze :)


    May 2, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  3. Elsie Nean says:

    I feel a bit like that with my purple sprouting broccoli. It always ends up green!

    May 2, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  4. miles says:

    It happens to the best of us!


    May 2, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  5. Rod says:


    I’ll be having a word with that French bloke

    You should know better than to trust the French :)

    May 3, 2008 @ 7:25 am

  6. miles says:

    I know, but then I do employ two so I’d better be careful :)


    May 3, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  7. behroush says:

    Hello Miles,

    I read the article about cardomom as I had heard that white cardomom was merely bleached so I have been through the same process.

    I grew up in England, in sunny Surrey but I am from Iran and I live in NYC, where I run my own business importing spices from Iran, India, China, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey etc. and I am currently working on a project that requires me to research for spices or food products from antiquity that have all but disppeared. Have you read about any culinary products or techniques in historical texts and wondered what happened to them? Meade for example all but disappeared but is now being commercially produced again. You could say the same albeit at a lesser extent, about Absinthe, which didn’t as much disappear but was outlawed.

    I just thought I’d reach out and thank you for your wonderful site and see if you had come across any such information that would be useful for my research.


    December 16, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  8. miles says:

    Welcome to the blog and thank you for your excellent comment. I have long been interested in spices and the history of food in general to the extent that I do try and bring back as many long lost recipes as possible to the restaurants I oversee. Back here in England the use of old fashioned culinary herbs has become more widespread which is nice to see such as Good King Henry, Bergamot, cardoon, Hyssop and Sweet Cicely. I do have more information about these herbs at
    alternatively for a specialist site about all things spices and their history visit:

    Hope this helps and good luck with your work,
    kind regards

    December 16, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

  9. Sasha (Global Table Adventure) says:

    They sure are pretty… I’ll stick to green though, since I already have them ;)

    March 12, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  10. miles says:

    Welcome to the site, stick with the green-I do and give the black ones a miss whilst you’re at it!

    Kind regards

    March 12, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  11. Andrew says:

    Agreed! However, there is said to be a variety of cardamom that is white and is very rare.

    July 8, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  12. miles says:

    Welcome to the site and thanks for commenting. Haven’t heard that one to be honest, I’ll look into it though.
    Many thanks
    Kind regards

    July 8, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  13. Marjorie Jamieson says:

    Is “white” cardamom the husk on the cardamom, or the actual spice inside the husk? I’m Norwegian and use the black spice inside the white husk at Christmas. However, it is getting more and more difficult to find. I bought some at Penseys for this year’s Christmas baking and it has very little flavor! I’ve never used cardamom with the green husk. I assume you take the husk off; what color is the spice? Thanks, MKJ

    January 5, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

  14. miles says:

    Welcome to the site, you are right in that it is getting increasingly difficult to find. They are simply bleached, the outer shell is white, the seed pod,as I recall is black (not used it for some four years)
    Personally I would just use the best quality green as the flavour is superior to both white and black.
    Kind regards

    January 6, 2013 @ 8:37 am

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