The floral, minty notes of cardamom quickly become unpleasantly medicinal if you use too much of it. Failing to exercise moderation with this spice can make your dish inedible. Cardamom works best when it is used as a background note for other flavors, not when it is the only thing that you can taste. While you may be tempted to throw out a dish with too much cardamom in it, don’t give up. There are several options for rescuing your meal.
Table of Contents
- Decrease the cardamom ratio
- Use starches
- Use other herbs and spices
- Physically remove the cardamom seeds
- Add a sweetener
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Decrease the cardamom ratio
Increasing the volume of the dish without increasing the cardamom content lowers the concentration of the cardamom. This may mean doubling the ingredients aside from cardamom or you can remove half of the food and add more ingredients to make it back up to a full recipe. In either case, this method allows you to balance the cardamom flavor without too much effort or waste. Since you will be using ingredients that were required in your recipe, you are able to preserve the flavor profile of the dish.
Starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots can be used to soak up the spice without affecting the flavor profile of the dish. Simply add a few pieces of potato to the dish that has too much cardamom and let it cook for a while. Remove the potato before serving to dramatically decrease the cardamom flavor. Note that this may affect the levels of other herbs and spices in the dish. Taste to see whether re-seasoning is necessary.
Use other herbs and spices
The flavor of cardamom can be balanced or masked with the addition of other spices that are just as pungent. Note that this is not recommended for extreme cases where you have gone far overboard with the cardamom. If the cardamom flavor is too concentrated, adding more of another spice may result in a dish that has two overpowering spices instead of one.
Spices that can help to counter a moderate cardamom excess include clove and cinnamon. Choose the one that best suits the flavor profile of your dish. Herbs like oregano and rosemary may also be used; however, these may not suitable for all recipes that require cardamom.
Onions and garlic are both pungent enough to mask the flavor of cardamom, and both can be used in large amounts in a savory dish without having any negative effects on the flavor profile.
Physically remove the cardamom seeds
If your dish requires the use of whole seeds, remove them as soon as you realize that you have added too much. Cardamom is one of those spices that continually infuses its flavor as it is being cooked; the longer it is cooked, the more intense the flavor. Removal keeps the problem from getting worse.
Add a sweetener
With many spices, increased sweetness can help to neutralize the bitterness that comes with excess and cardamom is no different. If you are making a sweet dish, simply increase the amount of sugar that the recipe requires. Add a small amount of sugar, honey, or other sweetener if you are making a savory dish.