Cardamom has a distinctive flavor that is difficult to replicate, but a combination of equal portions of cinnamon and nutmeg can serve as a substitute for cardamom spice. Alternatively, ginger or cloves can take the place of the nutmeg in that mixture.
Green cardamom has an aromatic floral flavor with a hint of sweetness, while black cardamom has a greater intensity to its flavor as well as a smoky quality. Cardamom is an important ingredient in masala chai, a tea that is popular in India. The spice also plays a role in other sweet and savory Indian dishes, such as rice pudding and curry. Additionally, cardamom provides a fragrant element to Arabic and Turkish coffee, Scandinavian baked goods, pickles and liquor.