My earliest memory of cardamom is a room. A room? you might ask? yes... a room..a very special room at my uncle's ancestral home in Kambham, Tamil Nadu. A long time ago, they used to have a cardamom estate. And the cardamom harvest used to be piled in a storage room there. Many many years later, they stopped the farm , and converted that storeroom into a guestbedroom. When we used to go there for the holidays, we would be allotted that room. The room was redolent of the spice's fragrance...I think my love affair with cardamom beagn then....even now, after 15 years, when I go there, I walk into that room, and I am instantly transported back to more carefree times...when we would all be kids, playing hide and seek in those rooms ....
Cardamom, the Queen of all spices has a history as old as human race. Indian cardamom is truly unique-in aroma, flavour, and size. It has well established culinary values, and it is used in a wide range of sweets and confectionery. It is an important ingredient of garam masala, a combination spice for many vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Cardamom acts as a mouth-freshener after meals. Tea and coffee made with cardamom are pleasantly aromatic and refreshing.
Most of our malabari muslim dishes are never complete without this tiny but fragrant ingredient. It certainly packs a powerful punch to our tastebuds!!


Biryani rice 2 cups
Ghee 4 tbsp
Water 4 & 1/2 cups
Cinnamon 1" piece
Cardamom 5-6
Cloves 2
Salt 2 tsp
Onions 1 sliced thin and fine
Coriander leaves a small handful chopped


1. Wash rice well and drain till very dry.

2. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or heavy bottom pan. Saute onions till golden brown and crisp. Remove fried onions and keep aside.

3. On another flame, keep the water to boil in another vessel. Add salt, cardamom, cloves , and cinnamon to the water.

4. Add the rice to the ghee, and saute well till the rice is dry and golden. (about 5 minutes)

5. By this time, the water will be at boiling point. Add water to the rice, and cover with the pressure cooker lid or a plain lid if you're using only a pan.

6. If using pressure cooker, wait for one whistle to blow, then lower heat to simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat . If using a pan, wait till the rice has been well cooked(about 5 minutes), then turn off heat.

7. Add one tbsp of ghee on top of the rice before serving with a garnish of the fried onions and coriander leaves.

If possible, use jeerakashala aree or kayma aree for ghee rice instead of basmati rice. /span>

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