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Kapulaga jawa - white cardamom

Kapulaga jawa - white cardamom

Normal price €5,40 EUR
Normal price Offer price €5,40 EUR
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Unique! TThis round cardamom or white cardamom is considered the best substitute for green cardamom, the “queen of spices” in terms of taste. In Indonesiaë this false cardamom 'kapulaga jawa' is more used and better appreciated than the green 'real' cardamom.

The round, cream-coloured seed pods of the Wurfbainia compacta, also Amomum compactum, contain seeds, with aromatic properties similar to those of green cardamom, although slightly less sharp . For connoisseurs, this white cardamom is not a replacement, but the ultimate.

The plant  grows naturally in evergreen, tropical deciduous forest under moist, shady conditions, especially in hilly areas between 200 and 1,000 meters altitude. The plant grows to a height of two to four meters and has a root system with rhizomes that is very similar to that of the ginger plant. The growth habit is very compact, the leaves are lanceolate with a pointed tip, 50-100 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. The plant blooms from the rhizome, i.e. close to the ground. Six to eight weeks later the fruits are ripe.

The white cardamom is harvested from the fourth year, at intervals of 35-45 days. In Java they harvest up to four times, twice in the wet season from January to July, and twice in the dry season from August to December. The fruits grow in clusters and are also harvested (cut) in clusters. Afterwards, the fruits are 'picked' one by one and left to dry in the sun.

The first harvests are generally poor, but the yield increases with time.

The clusters consist of 5-18 seed pods, each 1-1.5 cm in diameter. They have downy hair and contain brown to black seeds, encased in a whitish jelly (arylus). When the fruits are ripe, they are red-violet in color, with a white crown, which is the remnant of the flower. During drying, the fruit pods turn pale cream-coloured, like Kemiri nut. During the drying process the jelly dries up.

The pod is tough and fibrous and difficult to 'crack'; it is easiest to open it, just like the green cardamom, with the tip of a knife.

White cardamom is often used in Indian cooking because it has a slightly sweet taste with notes of cinnamon and citrus. White cardamom works well with other spices such as coriander and cumin in curries or stews. It also goes well with ginger, nuts and coconut milk.

White cardamom powder ?

White cardamom powder is not obtained from this white cardamom, but from green cardamom. To obtain the pale hue, the cardamom is treated with a bleaching solution of potassium metabisulphite and hydrogen peroxide. Traditionally, this bleaching was done in a solution of soap nuts.

Due to the bleaching process, the cardamom loses its eucalyptus aroma, a popular effect that makes this cardamom powder widely used in bakery and confectionery. That is the essential difference between bleached white cardamom powder and ground white cardamom.

Smell and taste

White cardamom is less sharp than 'real' green cardamom, which makes the taste palette very similar to green cardamom better. The aromas are mainly found in the seeds.

The main flavor components are:

  • 1.8 cineole (up to 70%), camphor/eucalyptus, mint, refreshing,
  • β-pinene (16%), camphorous, woody, cedar apple,
  • α-pinene (4%), warm, cedar apple, sharp, as in nutmeg
  • α-terpineol (5%), smoky cedar apple, as in lapsan souchon tea,
  • humulene (3%), cannabis aroma, also present in sage and mint.


Opened the dried fruits to use the seeds.

Used in city rice or Khao buri, a Thai so-called massaman curry, but also in other curries. The seed pod is often bruised before use in curries and, like bay leaves or cloves, is removed after preparation.

In Vietnam, white cardamom is used in beef pho. In Indonesia, for example, in the Balinese lamb (stew) dish kambing mekuah or in es teh kapulaga (spicy creamy ice milk with kapulaga).

An extract of this cardamom is available in Southeast Asia and is used as a substitute for vanilla in ice cream, whipped cream and custard.


  • 100% dried fruits of the Wurfbainia compacta
  • origin: China (name: Bái dòukòu 白豆蔻)


  • available in glass and stand-up pouch (no test tubes)
  • glass jar contains 20 grams - the 'nuts' are very light
  • stand-up pouches with a capacity of up to 30 to 60 grams
  • larger quantities in consultation

Gift packaging

  • the jar is available in a tasteful gift packaging, consisting of a cube box filled with black tissue paper
  • for an overview of our gift packaging, please refer to the gift packaging section

General advice

  • store white cardamom in a dark, dry and cool place


  • preferably store in a dark, dry and cool place
  • best before August 2026 (08/26)
  • this expiration date is an indication
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