Cardamom Vs Coriander What's The Difference

Cardamom vs. Coriander – What’s The Difference?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

Cooking can be quite intimidating, especially if you have just started. Two of the most common things that often confuse people are herbs and spices. The main thing is that people don’t understand what each is used for. 

Examples of such often-confused ingredients are Coriander and mint, Licorice and Anise, and Cardamom and Coriander. Cardamom and Coriander are two important spices used in a wide variety of dishes across different cuisine. But some of the uses for these two spices are common, and they also have similar names, so it is natural to assume that they might be similar.

But you’d be amazed to know that these two spices are actually from different plant species. Not only that, but they also have a different flavor, appearance, and nutritional value. So, in this article, we will cover all of that and go into detail about what sets these two spices apart and what unites them. Keep on reading to find out more. 

Coriander

We have already described why someone would confuse Cardamom with Coriander, but that is not where the story ends; In fact, that’s just the beginning. Coriander is not as straightforward as we want it to be because this plant’s seed (which comes from the parsley family and its plant is called Coriandrum sativim) is called Coriander, and the leaves are referred to as cilantro.

Cilantro is a Spanish word, which roughly translates to coriander leaves. Now, we can’t decide if that’s an over-complication or simply a fusion of different cultures. In any case, these are the terms used in the US only; in other countries, the leaves of Coriandrum sativum are referred to as Coriander leaves, and its seeds are called coriander leaves. 

As there is a different word for coriander leaves (cilantro), most people don’t confuse it with Cardamom, but the coriander seeds cause the problem. Coriander has a distinct flavor that can’t be substituted with most other herbs or spices. Coriander is also easily available in most grocery stores and spice shops across the US. 

Coriander is a close relative to celery, parsley, and carrots, as it is from the same Apiaceae family. It is believed that Coriander was used by our ancestors as far as 500 BC. You can find various references to Coriander in the Sanskrit writings, and Coriander leaves were also found in Egyptian tombs dating thousands of years old. 

Cardamom

This may be hard to grasp, but Cardamom belongs to the same family as ginger. It is produced in various parts of the world and used in almost all cuisines worldwide. According to a survey, a total of 12 grams of Cardamom was consumed per capita from 2011 to 2016, and this number has only increased in the years that followed. 

Having its roots in Asia, where it was first produced, Cardamom has taken the world by storm and has become an integral part of many dishes and an everyday spice used by many home chefs and professionals alike. You’d often find Cardamom sold in powder form; however, you can also buy it whole. Another popular way of selling Cardamom is in oil or extract form. 

In extract or oil form, Cardamom is often used for medical purposes, and it is believed to have healing powers that traditional medical experts use in different parts of the world, especially the South-Asian countries. But before you accept these claims as true and start throwing in Cardamom in your dishes and tea, you must keep in mind that there is very limited research done on the medical uses of Cardamom and its health benefits. You can test it yourself and see the results, because what’s the harm in doing that?

Differences in Cardamom and Coriander

To understand these spices better, let’s look at different aspects that differentiate them and make them similar to each other. 

Uses 

As we have already mentioned, Cardamom and Coriander have some common uses; one commonality is that you can use both these spices in savory and sweet dishes. Only a handful of spices can be used like that. Coriander is more popularly used with all kinds of meats, including red meat, poultry and fish. However, it is also used with fruits and vegetables to bring out its floral notes. 

Coriander is also used in sweet dishes, desserts and sauces because its flavor resembles cinnamon or lemon zest. Cardamom is most famous for its fragrance and is often used to give food a unique scent and flavor. You can add Cardamom in coffee or tea and make these drinks unique while enjoying the various health benefits that might come with it. 

Flavor

Cardamom has a flavor that can be best described as lemony or minty. If you chew raw Cardamom, you will get a bitter taste, and you might not want to use Cardamom ever in your dishes again. But if you add this spice to your food, you’d be surprised by its unique flavor and scent. 

Coriander has a slightly different flavor than Cardamom. It can be best described as earthy or slightly sweet. It doesn’t have the same strong aroma as Cardamom, but it surely has a flavor that will give your food more depth. 

Appearance

Coriander and Cardamom can be easily distinguished when they are not in powdered form. Coriander seeds are tiny and round, while cardamom leaves have a spindle shape and come as pods. And one thing that you should know is that opening cardamom seed is not an easy task, and it takes quite some work. 

So What’s the Difference Between Cardamom and Coriander?

  • Coriander seeds are tiny and round, while cardamom leaves have a spindle shape and come as pods.
  • Cardamom has a flavor best described as lemony or minty, while Coriander has a slightly different flavor than Cardamom.
  • Coriander is also used in sweet dishes, desserts and sauces because its flavor resembles cinnamon or lemon zest. Cardamom is most famous for its fragrance and is often used to give food a unique scent and flavor.

Sources