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All About Black Cardamom | Know Your Spice Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi

All About Black Cardamom | Know Your Spice Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi (Amomum subulatum)

Black Cardamom is also known as Big Cardamom, Badi Elaichi, Kali Elaichi, Bara Elaichi & Greater Indian Cardamom

All About Black Cardamom | Know Your Spice Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi (Amomum subulatum) Black cardamom is a spice is used for culinary purposes in the Indian cuisine.

Badi elaichi is a major ingredient in garam masala a blend of dried spices. Use of garam masala is common in Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Afghan cuisines.

Black cardamom comes from a herbaceous perennial shrub of the ginger family. The pods (fruits) of big cardamom are large (2-3 cm long), hairy, and brown-black, and contain about 30-50 seeds.

The seeds are sticky, but once removed from the pod they soon dry out, and it is these, in either whole or ground form, that are most commonly used.

Black cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods, medicines and beverages. It has properties like carminative, stomachic, diuretic, cardiac stimulant and antiemetic.

This red spice information card below gives you a snapshot of the big cardamom spice you’ll read about. Do share this spice card with your friends & spread the knowledge.

What exactly is a black cardamom?

Some common names of black cardamom are big cardamom, Nepal cardamom, Kali Elaichi & Bara Elaichi

Spice card – black cardamom | badi elaichi | kali elaichi

Black Cardamom are actually the fruits of the Amomum herb that grows in Nepal, followed by India and Bhutan.

Big Cardamom has a pleasant aromatic odour, due to which it is extensively used for flavouring rice & vegetables and many meat preparations.

Apart from aroma, Badi Elaichi also has significant medicinal value.

Botanically, Black Cardamom comes from a herbaceous perennial shrub of the ginger family.

The pods (fruits) of big cardamom are large (2-3 cm long), hairy, and brown-black, and contain about 30-50 seeds.

The seeds are sticky, but once removed from the cardamom pod they soon dry out, and it is these, in either whole or ground form, that are most commonly used.

For Amomum subulatum to grow correctly, it requires areas where severe frost does not occur and the soil remains moist throughout the year.

The Kali Elaichi is a shade loving plant. It grows best in diffused light under shade because direct sunlight is harmful to the plant.

After harvesting big cardamom capsules must be dried soon. The moisture content needs to be reduced from the original of 70-80% to less than 10%.

Traditionally, the drying procedure was done over open flames (it is still done like this in Nepal). Due to this the kali elaichi spice also acquired a strong smoky flavour and a darker black colour.

What is the nutrition value of Black Cardamom?

Know the nutritional value of Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi

Black cardamom contains many essential volatile oils that include:

  • pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene,
  • terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate,
  • citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.

Big cardamom is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron & manganese.

Aromatic pods of big cardamom are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health.

What is the chemical composition of Black Cardamom?

Know and understand about chemical composition of kali elaichi or badi elaichi.

Proximate composition of the spice shows a high content of starch, medium level of crude fiber and protein and average level of volatile oil.

A remarkable feature of seed is the presence of glycosides, subulin, petunidin, cardamom in, a1pinetin, leucocyanidin and flavonoid chalcone in traces.

Essential oil of big cardamom obtained by steam distillation of crushed seeds yield a mobile liquid of 2.8% possessing a characteristic smell of cineole.

The harsh, camphoraceous notes of the oil is primarily due to the high content of of I ,8-cineole.

An interesting feature of big cardamom oil is that out of 13 major compounds reported, 11 compounds were similar as in Ethiopian cardamom (Aframomum korarima)

What is the history of Black Cardamom?

Know more about the origins & the story behind Black Cardamom or Kali Elaichi or Badi Elaichi

Badi Elaichi is known to be used in India from ancient times. It is known as Ela in Sanskrit and references to this can be found in ancient Sanskrit texts.

Taitreya Samhita, which belongs to the later Vedic period (ca. 3000 BC), contains mention of cardamom among the ingredients to be poured in the sacrificial fire on the occasion of a marriage ceremony (Mahindru, 1982).

The ancient Indian Ayurvedic texts, Charaka Samhita and Susrutha Samhita, written in the post-epic period (1400—600 BC) also mention cardamom on many occasions.

Although it is not clear whether the ela mentioned in those texts is green cardamom or big (Nepal) cardamom, it is the latter that occurs in the northeastern region of India.

It was mentioned that the ancient king of Babylon, Merodach-Baladan II (721—702 BC) grew cardamom among other herbs in his garden.

However, in the ancient Egyptian texts there was no mention of the use of cardamom.

However, there are references of cardamom in ancient Greece and Rome as they occupied a significant place in social ceremonies and functions.

Dioscorides (40—90 AD), the Greek physician and the author of the famous Materia Medica, mentioned cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and turmeric and many herbs as useful medicines.

Big cardamom was one of the most popular oriental spices in Roman cuisine. Because of its importance, cardamom was listed as an item liable to duty at Alexandria in AD 176.

What is the difference between Black Cardamom & Green Cardamom

Learn about the difference between Black Cardamom & Green Cardamom.

The Indian names of black card­amom are formed from the name of green card­amom​ with an epi­thet meaning black (Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati kali elaichi) or more often big (Hindi and Maithili bari ilaichi)

However, being from the same Zingiber­aceae​ or ginger family they are not the same.

People unfamiliar with this spice has often been heard describing it as an inferior substitute for the small green cardamom, which is used for sweet/savory dishes.

Black Cardamom Green Cardamom
Botanical Name Amomum subulatum ‎Elettaria cardamomum
Genus (Family) Amomum (Zingiber­aceae) Elettaria (Zingiber­aceae)
Produced in Nepal, North India & Bhutan South India, Guatemala, Sri Lanka
Seeds Dark brown or Black Green
Seeds Size 2-3 cm long (30-50 seeds) 1–2 cm (15-20 seeds)
Flavour Strong, camphor-like flavour, with a smoky character Complex mix of sweet, peppery, floral flavors
Taste Profile Strong Mild
Use Widely Widely
Consumption In a wide variety of rice, meat dishes and large-scale use by commercial bakers Curries, Desserts, Dairy, Beverages

What do Black Cardamom taste like?

What is the the taste of Black Cardamom?

A strong astringent aroma and a smoky flavour, derived from the traditional methods of drying. Black cardamom spice has notes of resin and camphor, as well as menthol, a slightly minty aroma.

The smoky fra­grance of the pure black card­amom is not dis­cernible in the finished dish. It cannot domi­nate a dish, but en­hances and in­tensi­fies the taste of other in­gredi­ents.


All about black cardamom spice | badi elaichi | kali elaichi


What are the uses of Black Cardamom?

Know more about how black cardamom or badi elaichi is used.

The roots of the plant are boiled and eaten like potatoes when the flowers are used for garnishing salads and other recipes.

Pods are often steam-cooked and added to pulses. It is used as a flavoring agent in pickles and custard.

In Scandinavian bakery products and Danish pastries large cardamom is an essential ingredient.

While this is used in preparation of Biryani in India and Pakistan. The pods are generally added to spicy beef and chicken curries in Sri Lanka.

Small amount of the spice when added to coffee or tea produces a stimulating flavor.

Rice puddings, flans and porridges taste better with a pinch of black cardamom. The seeds are good to be used as a mouth freshener besides in room freshner.

Black cardamom seeds are recognized as aromatic, pungent, stimulant, stomachic, alexipharmic and astringent in traditional medicines.

It has been well established to treat persistent cough, biliousness, heart ailments, abdominal pains, liver disorders, vomiting, malarial disorders and drunkenness due to alcohol consumption.

It is also helpful in improving skin complexion, for relieving body pain, urinary disorders, lowering high body temperature, relief from food poisoning and bronchial infections.

How long do Black Cardamom last?

Learn about how long does badi elaichi last in storage.

Properly stored, Black Cardamom will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 4 years.

To maximize the shelf life of black cardamom or badi elaichi purchased in bulk, and to better retain flavour and potency, store it in airtight containers.

How do I store Black Cardamom?

Learn about how to store Black Cardamom or Kali Elaichi.

Store black cardamom or badi elaichi in a cool, dark place. Once you open a pack of black cardamom, store it in the fridge.

This will help you maximize the shelf life of your black cardamom or badi elaichi.

Crushed Black Cardamom with Ground Coffee in a Moka Pot
Did you know: Black cardamom increases bile secretion, which improves digestion, prevents acid reflux, and gastric disorders.

Crushed black cardamom with ground coffee in a moka pot


What can I use Black Cardamom for?

Learn how to use kali elaichi or badi elaichi in your food & beverages.
  • Black cardamom is largely used in savory Indian dishes ranging from curries, stews, daal (lentil dishes), and pulao.
  • In China, the pods are used for jin-jin braised meat dishes, particularly in Sichuan cuisine
  • In Vietnam, they are used as an ingredient in pho noodle soup.
  • Use it for your homemade garam masala.
  • It goes quite well with hot cinnamon, giving an earthy, grounded flavour to desserts.
  • It’s also very good when used together with carrots in savoury dishes.
  • Small amount of the spice when added to coffee or tea produces a stimulating flavor.
  • Rice puddings, flans and porridges taste better with a pinch of black cardamom.

Is there a substitute for Black Cardamom?

Learn how to use a substitute for black cardamom or kali elaichi if unavailable

You can use green cardamom as a substitute for black but it will lack the smoky, hot flavor. But, don’t use black cardamom as a replacement for green cardamom.

Where do I buy Black Cardamom from?

Where to Locate Black Cardamom in the Grocery Stores?

Black Cardamom are well available in well-stocked grocery stores, supermarkets, and natural food stores. You’ll find them usually down the condiment or spices aisle.

They are also easily found in specialty and gourmet food stores as well as online. Black Cardamom are typically packaged in 100 gram jars or packets.

What are the health benefits of Black Cardamom or Badi Elaichi?

Learn about health benefits of black Cardamom or Amomum subulatum

Health Benefits of Black Cardamom or Benefits of Kali Elaichi

Different parts of the badi elaichi plant are recommended for treating different conditions:

Here are some notable Health Benefits of Black Cardamom;

  • Health Benefits of Badi Elaichi as an Antioxidant – Antioxidant activity: Phytoconstituents in the seeds of black cardamom showed antioxidant activity by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
  • Health Benefits of Black cardamom against Digestive Disorders – Consuming black cardamom helps in various digestive disorders and also helps in fighting stomach ulcers. It also keeps the acids in the stomach under proper control.
  • Health Benefits of Kali Elaichi in Cardiovascular Health – Regular intake of black cardamom helps in maintaining a healthy heart. It also reduces the probability of blood clot and also helps to keep a check on our blood pressure.
  • Health Benefits of Kali Elaichi for Healthy Hair – Being rich in antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it helps in preventing scalp infection and provides proper nourishment to the hair due to its anti-oxidative properties.
  • Health Benefits of Badi Elaichi against Diabetes – Black cardamom seeds were evaluated in fructose fed metabolic syndrome in rats. The extracts revealed significant increase of serum insulin levels and reduction 111 hyperglycemia.
  • Health Benefits of Black Cardamom for Liver – Extracts of seeds possess hepatoprotective activity against ethanol induced liver damage in rats as evidenced by functional, biochemical and histological results.

Kali Elaichi seeds are recognized as aromatic, pungent, stimulant, stomachic, alexipharmic and astringent in traditional medicines.

It has been well established to treat persistent cough, biliousness, heart ailments, abdominal pains, liver disorders, vomiting, malarial disorders and drunkenness due to alcohol consumption.


All About Black Cardamom Spice | Badi Elaichi | Kali Elaichi
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Black Cardamom Coffee | How to Make Black Cardamom Coffee

Black Cardamom Coffee | How to Make Black Cardamom Coffee - There are several examples of green cardamom coffee over the internet, however, I couldn't find even a single one that is made with black cardamom. So here it is. It was amazingly refreshing.
Course Beverage
Cuisine World
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword Badi Elaichi, Black Cardamom, Black Cardamom Coffee, Black Cardamom Coffee Recipe, Kali Elaichi
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 Serving
Calories 115kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Piece Black Cardamom Separate husk from seeds & pound seeds using a mortar & pestle. Use both
  • 1 Teaspoon Condensed Milk

Instructions

  • Load your moka pot with one cup of water.
  • In the your moka pot or coffee filter add coffee and black cardamom seeds & husk.
  • Brew the coffee
  • Pour over condensed milk and stir.
  • Drink up

Notes

  • Condensed milk makes up for the sugar in black cardamom coffee. So sugar is not really required. However, please go ahead and sweeten additionally if you like that.

Tools & Equipment Used For This Recipe

The links below the image lead to product links on Amazon.in & Amazon.com respectively

Mortar & Pestle

FInally! To Sum It Up

All About Black Cardamom (Amomum subulatum) | Benefits of Black Cardamom

Spice card – black cardamom | badi elaichi | kali elaichi

All About Black Cardamom | Know Your Spice Badi Elaichi or Kali Elaichi (Amomum subulatum) Black cardamom is a spice is used for culinary purposes in the Indian cuisine.

Badi elaichi is a major ingredient in garam masala a blend of dried spices. Use of garam masala is common in Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Afghan cuisines.

Black cardamom comes from a herbaceous perennial shrub of the ginger family. The pods (fruits) of big cardamom are large (2-3 cm long), hairy, and brown-black, and contain about 30-50 seeds.

The seeds are sticky, but once removed from the pod they soon dry out, and it is these, in either whole or ground form, that are most commonly used.

Black cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods, medicines and beverages. It has properties like carminative, stomachic, diuretic, cardiac stimulant and antiemetic.

This red spice information card above gives you a snapshot of the black cardamom spice you’ll read about. Do share this spice card with your friends & spread the knowledge.

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