Black cardamom (also known as brown cardamom, elaichi, thảo quả and tsao-ko) is a plant in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong camphor-like flavor, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying.
The pods are used as a spice, in a manner similar to the green Indian cardamom pods, but those have a drastically different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames. It is also called badhi elaichi in Hindi.
There are at least two distinct species of black cardamom: Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) and Amomum costatum or A. tsao-ko. The pods of A. subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India, are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of A. costatum (Chinese: wiktionary:草果; pinyin: cǎoguǒ; Vietnamese: thảo quả) are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan; and Vietnamese cuisine.
Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, and marinades for smoky flavor, much in the way bacon is used.
In India and Pakistan
In India and Pakistan, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indo-Pak spice mixture garam masala. Black cardamom is also commonly used in savory dal and rice dishes. In Tamil it is called as Maratti mokku (மராட்டி மொக்கு)or (காட்டு ஏலம்) In Manipuri, it is called Elaichi Achouba. In India and Pakistan this is used in making traditional tea(chai)
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