What is Black Cardamom Spice? In Hindi it is called Badi Elaichi, Kala Elaichi or Moti Elaichi. Black cardamom is similar in appearance to Indian green cardamom but differs is size, color and flavor. The pods of Badi Elaichi are dark brown to black in color with a thick, dried, wrinkled skin. The pods are aromatic but not as much as the green cardamom. Black Cardamom has a sweet, smoky flavor and aromatic due to drying of the pods over a smoke fire.
Culinary Uses of Black Cardamom – The cardamon pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but have a different flavor. Black Cardamom is one of the main ingredients in the making of North Indian style Garam Masala, few other masalas (spice mixes) and Pan Masala. Unlike green cardamom, badi elaichi is used mostly in savory dishes like curries and biryani and rarely used in sweet dishes. Usually the whole cardamom is tempered in a little oil to allow it to fully release its flavors and aroma. Crushed Black cardamom enhances and intensifies the taste of other ingredients.
How to make Cardamom Powder – Use a mixer grinder to grind the whole cardamom to a fine powder. Sieve the ground cardamom powder to remove the tough outer skin. Store in an air tight container.
Black Cardamom and Ayurveda – It subdues Kapha, Pita and Vata (balances all the three doshas). It is carminative and diuretic.
Health Benefits of Black Cardamom – Medicinal uses of black cardamom are many. It cures stones of the kidney and gall bladder and is also used to treat stomach ailments and dental problems. It is also chewed as a mouth freshener. It aids digestion and is a stimulant. It has a calming effect on the digestive tract and is used as a remedy for gastritis and dyspepsia. It is also used to treat respiratory problems like asthma. Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce muscle spasms. Black cardamom is used to treat sexual disorders, premature ejaculation and impotency.
Where to buy Cardamom and how to select – Black cardamom can be found in the seasonings/spices aisle of Indian grocery store or most Asian grocery stores. It is best to buy whole black cardamom rather than in its seed form as it loses its potency and fragrance when the skin is removed. Try to choose fragrant, plump and firm pods.