|Black cardamom fruit as used as spice|
Black cardamom fruit as used as spice
|Amomum subulatum, Amomum costatum|
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.
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: 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.
Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those who are unfamiliar with the spice. Although the flavor differs from the more common green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its relative cheapness.
Packages warn not to eat the product uncooked or as a snack food. 
- From Golden Flower brand, December 2007: "User warnings: Do not eat as a snack. Raw food. Please wash under tap water at least 5 minutes before cooking. Please cook in hot boiling water at least 30 minutes before consuming."
- Black cardamom page from Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
- Cardamom page from The Spice House website
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