Korarima Korerima Ethiopian Cardamon Cardamom
Many recipes we see online for Ethiopian cooking, state the use of cardamon. This is of course correct but the type of these pods differs enormously.
In Ethiopian cuisine, the cardamom also known as Korarima, Korerima, False Cardamom and Ethiopian Cardamom, is hugely different in taste, smell and size to its smaller black and green cousins.
The smaller black pod used in lots of Indian (Asian) cooking does has a small resemblance and is far closer is taste than the green type.
Known as Hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, or even brown cardamom, is roughly a eighth of the size as the one used in Ethiopia.
The more common green cardamom is much smaller than even its black cousin and in taste, does not even get close to much larger Ethiopian variety.
Aframomum corrorima or what we call Korerima is used in many ways in Ethiopian cuisine including Berbere, Mitmita, Nite Kibbeh or Niter Kibe (Spiced butter) as well on occasions in coffee and as a herbal medicine.
The importance of Korerima cannot be over stated within Ethiopian Cooking.
The bottom line is, when cooking any Ethiopian food, stay away from the green Cardamom, maybe if you just cannot get Korerima use the smaller black Cardamom, but of course if you can get the real deal and make your Ethiopian food taste as it should.
Below is a little deeper text on the subject matter.
The word “cardamom” is derived from the Latin cardamomum, itself the latinisation of the Greek καρδάμωμον (kardamomon), a compound of κάρδαμον (kardamon), “cress”+ ἄμωμον (amomon), which was the name for a kind of an Indian spice plant. The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek ka-da-mi-ja, written in Linear B syllabic script, in the list of flavourings on the “Spice” tablets found among palace archives in the House of the Sphinxes in Mycenae.
The two main genera of the ginger family named as forms of cardamom are distributed as follows:
• Elettaria (commonly called cardamom, green cardamom, or true cardamom) is distributed from India to Malaysia.
• Amomum (commonly known as black cardamom, brown cardamom, kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white cardamom, or red cardamom) is distributed mainly in Asia and Australia.
The two types of cardamom, κάρδαμομον and ἄμωμον, were distinguished in the fourth century BCE by the Greek father of botany, Theophrastus. Some of his informants told him that these varieties came to Greece from the land of the Medes in northern Persia, while others were aware it came originally from India.
Black cardamom, also known as hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, or brown cardamom, comes from either of two species in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong camphor-like flavor, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying.
The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but with a different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames.
Aframomum corrorima is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The spice, known as korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, or false cardamom, is obtained from the plant’s seeds (usually dried), and is extensively used in Ethiopian cooking. It is an ingredient in berbere, mitmita, awaze, and other spice mixtures, and is also used to flavor coffee. In Ethiopian herbal medicine, the seeds are used as a tonic, carminative, and laxative.
The plant is native to Tanzania, western Ethiopia (in the vicinity of Lake Tana and Gelemso), southwestern Sudan, western Uganda.