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Terminology

Elaichi

Elaichi
Elaichi

Elaichi (noun.) sometimes spelt Ilaichi is the Hindi translation of cardamom, that is an aromatic herb added to several sweet and salty spicy Indian foods. It can be added to basic bread dough to get a unique fragrance. As a common practice Indians add it to sugary milk recipes like kheer or payasam as it has the overpowering aroma that lowers the typical milk odour. It can be added to chicken or meat with peppercorns and cinnamon (dalchini), where the aromatic presence of the herb negates the raw tang of chicken or meat.

There are different types of Elaichis or Cardamom used in Indian cuisine. The choti elaichi is the green colour variants often used in sweets and the black one is used in curries and chicken bhuna or lamb gosth dishes. Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) is also known as Bengal cardamom or greater cardamom and it is harvested in North-east India bordering Nepal. It is like green elaichi with intense flavours, albeit smoky, as compared to the sweet flavour of the green cardamom.Black cardamom has notes of resin and camphor, as well as menthol. It is slightly minty that can balance the funky flavours. The intense, heady notes put black cardamom in the "warming" spice category, along with black pepper, cloves, and chillies.

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