Amomum subulatum, also known as Black cardamom, hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, big cardamon, or brown cardamom, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong, camphor-like flavour, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying. In Hindi it is called बड़ी इलाइची (baḍī ilāichī).
The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but with a different flavour. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavour and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames. Black cardamom can be erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom.
At least two distinct species of black cardamom occur: Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) and Amomum tsao-ko. The pods of A. subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India and certain regional cuisines of Pakistan, are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of A. tsao-ko (Chinese: wiktionary:草果; pinyin: cǎoguǒ; Vietnamese: thảo quả) are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan, and Vietnamese cuisine.
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