Cardamom is a small, hard, black to brown seed. It is originally from India, and is now cultivated in Nepal, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Some people say cardamom has hints of mint or orange, which is why I like to use it in my chocolate frosting.
Cardamom is a common ingredient in Indian cooking (which makes sense since it originated in India). But is also found in Sweden and Finland, where it is used in traditional sweet baked breads. I have grown up eating the Finnish sweet bread called pulla, which contains a lot of cardamom, and have since become accustomed to using the spice in a variety of dishes and drinks.
I buy cardamom in the seed form and then use a mortar and pestle to freshly grind a teaspoon at a time. The seeds will store well in a dry glass jar with a lid. For baking or use in a porridge, I will grind the seed to a medium consistency. For a beverage or chocolate frosting, I grind the seed into as fine a powder as I can.
Freshly ground cardamom also tastes great in a sweet millet porridge.