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Spice of Life

Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.

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The Queen of Spices

You have patiently waited several weeks to determine what the queen of spice is!  Well, here is the answer: Cardamom! This spice, also referred to as the “Grains of Paradise”, is known to man since ancient times. In India some people even carry tiny silver boxes of cardamom seeds as a mouth freshener. After dinner cardamom is chewed to clean the palate. Cardamom adds an appealing flavor to foods and aids in digestion.

There are many varieties of cardamom, the true one being the green cardamom. Indian rice and vegetable dishes, desserts and Indian tea (known as Chai) are often flavored with cardamom. A cardamom pod is really a dried fruit. Cardamom pods are all oval shaped capsules containing between 10 to 40 hard dark brown seeds that cling together. Cardamom is available in the form of whole pods and in powder form. (Grind the seeds from the pods in a small food processor to make cardamom powder.)  Store cardamom in a clean, dry jar.

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