Black Cardamom Pods (Amomum Subulatum)
Black cardamom is a ginger family member, however it is not the same plant as green cardamom. There are moments to appreciate the subtlety of green cardamom, and then there are occasions to go all out, with black cardamom rightfully holding the title of world's third-most costly spice, behind only vanilla and saffron in terms of price per pound.
It's dried over an open fire, which is why it has such a strong smokey scent. Notes of resin and camphor, as well as menthol and a mild minty fragrance of green cardamom, bring balance to a funky kick. Black cardamom, like black pepper, cloves, and chilies, is classified as a "warming" spice because of its powerful, pungent overtones. Because of its potency, it's best used in long-cooked dishes in moist environments, where the spice may fully release its fat- and water-soluble oils. It's a key ingredient in the spice blend garam masala, which translates to "warming mix," and it's also the star of many North Indian and Chinese dishes.
To stand up to such a potent spice, you'll need equally potent flavors. It complements dry chiles, cumin, and, most significantly, lime juice. The sweet acid balances out a lot of the medicinal notes in black cardamom, to the point of being almost mandatory. Black cardamom is typically used with a variety of other spices, both to balance it and because it excels at combining conflicting flavors.
This spice isn't just for curries and rice dishes in Indian and Chinese cuisine. A pod tossed into a pot roast, a dry rub for barbecued brisket, or a bowl of pho adds just a hint of smoke and an unusual but wonderful flavor. It's a strong spice, but still it integrates perfectly, making it just as versatile—and deserving of praise—as its more well-known green relative.
Consuming black cardamom can assist with a variety of digestive issues as well as stomach ulcers. It also helps to keep the stomach acids under control, prevents bloating and gas, enhances your appetite, and aids in the maintenance of healthy heart health.
◉ You may peel the seeds and use them whole, or powdered for a pretty strong kick, or even mill the whole pod, just like green cardamom. They're easy to spot, but grinding them to a fine powder without collecting some unpleasant shards is difficult.
◉ Spices should be stored in airtight glass containers -in a cool, dark, and dry area- to preserve their flavor.