Black cardamom, also known as "brown cardamom", is a spice that is commonly used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is larger in size compared to green cardamom, and has a distinct smoky and intense flavor profile. Black cardamom is dark brown, and has a rough, wrinkled surface with an average length of about 2.5 cm. The aroma of black cardamom is smoky and pungent, with hints of camphor and eucalyptus.
This spice's flavor is robust, smoky and slightly bitter, with a strong, slightly sweet aftertaste. The flavor profile of black cardamom does not change much with heat or time cooked, making it suitable for long-cooked dishes. Black cardamom is a key ingredient in various dishes including, biryanis, stews, soups, and spice blends like garam masala.
In cooking, black cardamom is usually used whole, but it can also be ground into a powder. It is often added early in the cooking process to allow the flavors to develop and penetrate the dish. There is no need for any preparation before using black cardamom in cooking, simply add whole pods or ground powder to the dish as per the recipe's instructions. It is often used in dishes that require a longer cooking time, as the flavor of black cardamom intensifies with time.
Some specific dishes that use black cardamom include Indian biryani, qeema, rogan josh, as well as some types of tea, such as chai tea. In Middle Eastern cuisine, black cardamom is used in dishes like kebabs and stews.
Black cardamom pods
Robust, smoky, and slightly bitter with a strong, slightly sweet aftertaste
Dark brown, rough and wrinkled surface.
Cloves, Cinnamon, Cumin, Coriander, Ginger, Nutmeg, Turmeric, Fennel Seeds, Star Anise, Saffron
In spice blends like garam masala, which is commonly used in Indian cuisine, and biryanis, stews, and soups
PROCESSING / FORM
Amomum subulatum Roxb
Black cardamom is not the same as green cardamom: While both green and black cardamom are members of the same plant family, they have different flavors, aromas, and uses. Green cardamom is lighter in flavor and aroma, while black cardamom is more intense and smoky.
Black cardamom can be used in a similar way to green cardamom in cooking, but there are some differences in how they are prepared. Green cardamom pods are typically crushed or ground before use to release their aromatic oils and help the flavor to permeate the dish more effectively. Black cardamom, on the other hand, is often used whole and can be added to a dish as is.
However, if you want a more intense flavor from black cardamom, you can lightly crush the pods to release their aroma. This is typically done by lightly tapping the pods with a rolling pin or the back of a knife. Crushing black cardamom pods can also help to release their flavor into a dish more effectively, but it is not necessary for every dish.
Remember that black cardamom has a more intense and smoky flavor compared to green cardamom, so it's best to use it in moderation. In most recipes, 2-3 pods of black cardamom are enough to add a noticeable flavor. The addition of black cardamom is usually made at the beginning of cooking, so that the flavor has time to develop and infuse the dish.
Black cardamom has a longer shelf life compared to green cardamom, as it is less susceptible to spoilage and retains its flavor for longer.