Food and Cooking Encyclopedia: Cardamom (KAR duh muhm)
A pungent and aromatic spice with a flowery sweetness that's a little like ginger but much more subtle. Cardamom pods are the fruit of a plant in the ginger family. Each pod contains clusters of tiny, hard, black seeds. Whole cardamom pods, whole seeds, and ground cardamom seeds all are available.
When recipes call for crushed cardamom, you can use either the whole pod or whole seed. Remove the soft shell if using the pods; grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle.