Black cardamom is an important spice in its own right, not to be confused with green cardamom, for which it is not an appropriate substitute.
Black cardamom consists of the seeds of the Greater Indian or Nepal Cardamom, Amomum subulatum – matt dark-brown in colour, ridged and wrinkled in appearance. It has a noticeably smoky fragrance and flavour, with sharp notes of pine resin.
In Indian cuisine, black cardamom is used to flavour savoury, rather than sweet, dishes. Use black cardamom pods whole or crack open and extract the small dark seeds within, using those either whole or ground. Use black cardamom to add its smoky notes to dishes such as lamb or mutton biriyanis, aromatic pilaffs, hearty meat curries or in home-made garam masala.
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