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Also Known as
Badi elaichi, moti elaichi
Black cardamom is 4 to 6 times the size of the common small cardamom. There are many distinct species of black cardamom, ranging in pod size from 2 cm to more than 5 cm, with different tastes. Its flavour, aroma and other qualities are quite different from small cardamom. Especially, it has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with coolness similar to mint.
In India, black cardamom is preferred for spicy dishes, wherein it is used liberally.
How to Select
• Choose plump and firm pods of black cardamom to ensure it is brimming with seeds.
• Buy whole cardamom with the pod as it retains the aroma and flavour longer than seeds with the pod removed. Remove and discard the pods when you use the cardamom.
• Likewise, grind cardamom into powder in small quantities, as stocking cardamom powder for too long leads to loss of flavour.
• To make black cardamom powder, grind the whole cardamom in a mixer to a fine powder. Pass the ground powder through a sieve to remove the outer skin. Store in an air-tight container and use as required.
• Adding crushed black cardamoms to a dish enhances and intensifies the taste of other ingredients.
• It has a nice flavor and aroma that stimulate the taste buds when used in rice and savory dal preparations.
• Apart from being used in a wide range of beverages and sweets, it is also a popular ingredient of Pan Masala.
• Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles and marinades for a smoky flavor.
• It also goes well in rice puddings, cakes, ginger fig chutney, payasam etc.
• Black cardamom is also used in preparing garam masala, which is commonly used to flavour Indian curries, snacks and rice preparations too.
• It also works well in herbal infusions and health tonics, chai and even coffee.
How to Store
• Store it in an airtight jar in a cool and dry place, in order to retain the aroma.
• It will stay good for a year in dry conditions.
• It is used to soothe digestion problems.
• May also be used to treat respiratory problems such as asthma or respiratory spasms.
• Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing muscle spasms.