Both cardamom powder and whole cardamom pods can be used for cooking and baking, but they offer slightly different flavors and textures.
Cardamom pods are the whole seed pods of the cardamom plant, and the seeds inside the pods are what give the spice its flavor. To use them, you need to crack open the pods and remove the seeds, which can be a bit time-consuming. However, the seeds inside the pods are fresher and more potent than pre-ground cardamom powder. The pods themselves can also be used to infuse flavor into teas and other beverages.
On the other hand, cardamom powder is simply ground-up cardamom seeds. While it is more convenient to use than whole pods, it can lose its flavor and potency more quickly than the whole pods. Cardamom powder is a great option when you need to quickly add flavor to a dish without going through the process of cracking open the pods.
In general, if you have the time and inclination to use whole cardamom pods, they are the better choice for cooking and baking. However, if convenience is more important, cardamom powder is a good alternative. Regardless of which form of cardamom you use, be sure to store it in an airtight container away from light and heat to preserve its flavor and potency.