Black Cardamom

Black cardamom has a fresh and aromatic aroma which is complex in nature. It can be described as slightly sweet, floral and spice having citric elements. Large black cardamom (badi elaichi) has a strong, unique taste with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Large Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or grounded they quickly lose their flavour. Roughly 2.5 to 3 cm in length, the pod is dark brown to black in colour and have a tough, dried and wrinkly skin. Black cardamom is dried over a smoke fire and therefore has a distinct smoky aroma. The seeds have sweetish, smoky flavour when bitten into. The pods can be used in their whole or split forms while cooking. Cardamom is often included in Indian sweet dishes and drinks like punches and milled wines. It is used in pickles, especially pickled herring and flavoured custard. A stimulant and carminative, it is used curing indigestion and flatulence.

Chemical constituents :
The essential oil in the seeds contain a-terpineol 45%, myrcene 27%, limonene 8%, menthone 6%, phellandrene 3%, 1,8-cineol 2%, sabinene 2% and heptane 2%.

International Name :

  • French: cardamome
  • German: Kardamom
  • Italian: cardamomo, cardamone
  • Spanish: cardamomo
  • Burmese: phalazee
  • Chinese: ts'ao-k'ou
  • Indian: elachi, e(e)lachie, ela(i)chi, illaichi
  • Indonesian: kapulaga
  • Sinhalese: enasal
  • Thai: grawahn, kravan

Appearance, taste and smell :
Roughly 2.5 to 3 cm in length, Badi Elaichi pods are dark brown to black in color and have a tough, dried, wrinkly skin. They are highly aromatic but not as much as Green Caradmom. Black Cardamom is dried over a smoke fire and therefore has a distinct smokey aroma. The seeds have sweetish, smokey flavor when bitten into.

Harvesting Season :
August to December

Marketing Season :
October to February

Culinary Uses :

  • The pods can be used whole or split when cooked in Indian substantial meals- such as pulses.
  • Cardamom is often included in Indian sweet dishes and drinks like punches and milled wines.
  • It is used in pickles, especially pickled herring and flavors custard.
  • It is also chewed habitually (like nuts) where freely available, as in the East Indies, and in the Indian masticory, betel pan.
  • It is often used in baking in Scandinavia and in Danish pastries.
  • Throughout the Arab world, Cardamom is one of the most popular spices, with Cardamom coffee being a symbol of hospitality and prestige.
  • In the Moghul cuisine (Northern South Africa) it abundantly used in the delicious rice dishes called biriyanis.
  • In Sri Lanka, the pods are added to fiery beef or chicken curries.
  • A small amount of Cardamom will add a tempting flavor to coffee cake.
  • Flans, rice puddings, porridges, etc. taste much better with a dash of cardamom.
  • Add whole cardamoms to flavour tea drunk with milk.

Medicinal Uses :

  • A stimulant and carminative, it is used for indigestion and flatulence.
  • In South Africa, green cardamom (A. subulatum) is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums.
  • It is used to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Used in inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders.
  • It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.
  • Indians regarded it as a cure for obesity.
  • Cardamom is used as a breath-freshener, but it is said that excessive use thins the blood.