What Is Big Cardamom?
Big Cardamom (amomum subulatum) has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row. 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.
Big Cardamom Plant and Cultivation
The crop grows well under the shade of forest trees at altitudes ranging from 1000-2000 metres with a rainfall of 3000-3500 mm per annum. Deep and well drained soils with a loamy texture are best suited for big cardamom. The soil in Nepal is generally rich in organic matter and nitrogen, medium in available phosphorus and medium to high in available potash. The soils have a pH range from 4.5 to 6.0. Even though the crop can be grown in undulating and steep terrains, land with a more moderate slope is preferred.
Big Cardamom Description
A member of the ginger family, black cardamom is a relative of green cardamom, but they're far from the same plant. It has some of the same flavor notes, especially an uplifting menthol element, but it's also smoky, brash and bold. The pods of Big Cardamom are dark brown to black in color with a thick, dried, wrinkled skin. Big cardamom is 4 to 6 times the size of the common small cardamom. There are many distinct species of black cardamom, ranging in pod size from 2 cm to more than 5 cm, with different tastes. Its flavour, aroma and other qualities are quite different from small cardamom. Especially, it has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with coolness similar to mint.
Uses of Big Cardamom
Big Cardamom has a pleasant aromatic odour, due to which it is extensively used for flavouring vegetables and many food preparations. It is also used as an essential ingredient in mixed spices preparation. Apart from aroma, Big Cardamom also has high medicinal value. The decoction of seeds is used as a gargle in infection of teeth and gums. Big Cardamom seeds are considered as an antidote to either snake venom or scorpion venom. It is also reported that Big Cardamom seeds are used as preventive as well as curative measure for throat troubles, congestion of lungs, inflammation of eyelids, digestive disorders and in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
10 Health Benefits of Big Cardamom
1 - Hair Problems - Its oil is used to diminish Hair Problems. It is applied topically on the scalp to get healthy, strong and silky Hair. Its consumption helps in giving relief to irritating Scalp and Scalp infection.
2 - Skin Problems - Black cardamom is best for the Skin. It helps in proper blood circulation throughout the body and makes the Skin appear brighter. The antioxidants present in it, contributes to a smooth and shiny Skin. So, consume Black Cardamom to look more beautiful. It helps in treating Skin Allergies and is a good herbal cure for Skin Dermatitis.
3 - Cures Cancer - It contain anti cancerous attributes which help in combating Cancer of the Breast, Colon, , Prostate and Ovaries. Its Glutathione content halts the growth of Cancer Cells.
4 - Oral Problems - It is used to counter Oral Problems. Cardamom is used to eliminate bad breath.
5 - High Blood Pressure - It is a good herbal remedy to combat High Blood Pressure. It supports proper Heart Rate.
6 - Respiratory Problems - Cardamom is a good herbal treatment for Respiratory Problems like Asthma or Respiratory Spasms.
7 - Muscular Pain - It is good herbal cure against Muscular Spasms.
8 - Digestion Disorders - Black Cardamom halts Digestive Problems like Acid Reflux, Stomach Ache, etc. A good herbal remedy for Gastritis and Dyspepsia.
9 - Diuresis - Its is a good herbal treatment for Diuresis.
10 - Prevent Infections - It has been found that big cardamom can destroy 14 types of bacteria. It not only strengthens the immunity system but also prevents the body from bacterial and viral infection.
Producing Countries of Big Cardamom
Guatemala and India accounting for 45 percent and 21 percent of total production, respectively. Guatemala only produces small cardamom, while India produces both types. Guatemala and India have dominated cardamom production. Indonesia was the number three producer accounting for 18 percent of total production. With respect to big cardamom production, Indonesia was the top producer accounting for 45 percent of production, with Nepal (23 percent), India (15 percent) and China (14 percent) accounting for most of the remainder.
Consuming Countries of Big Cardamom
The Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and Europe are the main markets for big cardamom consumption. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest import market for big cardamom. Coffee consumption appears to be a strong driver of demand for big cardamom in Saudi Arabia. India is a major producer, consumer and exporter of this spice crop. Large cardamom is mainly grown in the sub-Himalayan hills of Sikkim and Darjeeling. India produces about 4,200 tons of cured cardamom annually.
Recipe for Beverages with Big Cardamom
Kashmiri Chai (Pink Tea)Ingredients:
A: 2 ½ cups water
B: 4 cups milk
C: A pinch of saffron strands
D: 2 tbspns jasmine tea leaves
E: 1 big cardamom
F: 1 big piece of cinnamon
G: 2 cloves
H: 3 almonds I: 4 green cardamoms crushed J: Some salt K: Sugar to taste L: 1 small very small drop of pink food colour (OPTIONAL)
A: In a saucepan, add all the ingredients given above except milk and for garnish and bring to a boil. B: Boil well for 10 minutes. C: Add milk and boil again. D: Strain this mixture and pour it into 4 cups. E: Place some mixed dried fruits on the saucer and garnish the tea with some crushed pistachios and almonds.
Recipe for Cooking with Big Cardamom
Lamb steak with dates and big cardamom butterIngredients:
A: seeds from 10 big cardamom pods B: 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped C: 60g butter D: 1 clove garlic, crushed E: pinch cayenne pepper or dried chilli flakes F: pinch ground ginger sea salt flakes, to taste G: 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil H: 4 lamb leg steaksPreparation Method
A: Toast the cardamom pods in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove, allow to cool then break the pods open and remove the seeds. Grind them as well as you can with a mortar and pestle. B: Add the rest of the ingredients (except the olive oil and steaks) and pound to incorporate well. Taste - you might want more ginger or chilli, but these spices shouldn’t overwhelm the cardamom. C: Heat the oil in a large frying pan (or two smaller ones) and cook the steaks, starting on a high heat immediately to get a good colour, then turn the heat down and continue to cook until they are done to your liking (I really like them rare, about a minute and a half on each side). Season as you cook. D: Serve on hot plates and put chunks of the date butter on top of each steak. Serve immediately, while the butter melts. A salad of baby spinach with lots of coriander is good on the side, as is bulgar wheat or couscous.
Recipe for Dessert with Big Cardamom
Big Cardamom – Orange Flourless Chocolate CakeIngredients:
A: Coconut oil
B: 1 1/4 cups raw whole almonds (with skins)
C: 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
D: 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
E: 4 big cardamom pods
F: 7 green cardamom pods
G: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
H: 1/2 cup cocoa powder I: Juice and zest of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup juice and 2 teaspoons zest) J: 6 large eggs, separated K: Kosher salt L: Powdered sugar, to dust
A: Heat the oven to 350 F. Rub an even coating of coconut oil over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan on baking sheet and set aside. B: In a food processor, combine the almonds and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Process until fine. Add the chocolate, then continue to process until a finely milled powder forms. C: Using a mortar and pestle, pound both varieties of cardamom pods until the husks open. Remove and discard the husks, then pound the seeds to a fine powder. Pour into a small bowl. Whisk in the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and the orange juice and zest until smooth. D: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until significantly thickened. Stir in the cocoa mixture and the almond-chocolate mixture. E: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. F: Working in 3 batches, fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, then place the sheet pan in the middle of the oven. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool to room temperature, then run a paring knife around the perimeter of the cake and release the sides of the pan. If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar, then cut into thin slices and serve.