Cardamom Queen of Spices & its brash cousin, Black Cardamom.
Black cardamom, also known as hill cardamom Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom winged cardamom or brown cardamom, comes from either of two species in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong camphor-like flavor, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying. A member of the ginger family, black cardamom is a relative of green cardamom. The Indian name for Black Cardamom is Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi. Black cardamom is dried over an open fire, which is what gives it such a powerful smokey aroma. The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but those have a 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.
Black Cardamom is a key ingredient in India's famous Garam Masala and several other masalas (spice mixes).
It is largely used in savory dishes ranging from curries, stews and dals (lentil dishes) to pilafs, in Indian cooking.
It is mostly used whole and almost always fried in a little oil to cause it to fully release its flavors and aroma.