black cardamom

What is black cardamom (badi elaichi)? Glossary | Uses, Benefits + Recipes Viewed 36429 times

Also Known as
Badi elaichi, moti elaichi

What is black cardamom (badi elaichi)?


Black 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.

In India, black cardamom is preferred for spicy dishes, wherein it is used liberally.

How to Select black cardamom (badi elaichi)
• Choose plump and firm pods of black cardamom to ensure it is brimming with seeds.
• Buy whole cardamom with the pod as it retains the aroma and flavour longer than seeds with the pod removed. Remove and discard the pods when you use the cardamom.
• Likewise, grind cardamom into powder in small quantities, as stocking cardamom powder for too long leads to loss of flavour.
• To make black cardamom powder, grind the whole cardamom in a mixer to a fine powder. Pass the ground powder through a sieve to remove the outer skin. Store in an air-tight container and use as required.

Culinary uses of black cardamom (badi elaichi)

1. There are different ways to incorporate black cardamom in rice dishes. The most common way is to add it to the boiling water in which we cook the Biryani Rice. This lets rice absorb the flavor of the whole spices, making them more aromatic and flavorful.

2. It can even be added to Achari Pulao to give it more of a kick. 

3. Black cardamom can be sautéed with vegetables and other whole spices to enhance its flavor before the rice is added to make Hyderabadi Sofiyani Biryani. The taste of the cardamom enriches the koftas added in the biryani.

4. The simplest way to incorporate the taste and aroma of black cardamom would be to add Biryani Masala. This masala is made by roasting and grinding many whole spices together to form a perfect balance of flavors.

5. Badi Elaichi is what gives many gravies the smoky, intense flavor that they have. My most favorite recipe that it is used in is Pindi Chole. The flavor of the Black Cardamom gets imbibed in the gravy very well.

6. This is the reason for it being used so much in many basic gravy subzis like the Basic Malvani Gravy.


• Adding crushed black cardamoms to a dish enhances and intensifies the taste of other ingredients.
• It has a nice flavor and aroma that stimulate the taste buds when used in rice and savory dal preparations.
• Apart from being used in a wide range of beverages and sweets, it is also a popular ingredient of Pan Masala.
• Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles and marinades for a smoky flavor.
• It also goes well in rice puddings, cakes, ginger fig chutney, payasam etc.
• Black cardamom is also used in preparing garam masala, which is commonly used to flavour Indian curries, snacks and rice preparations too.
• It also works well in herbal infusions and health tonics, chai and even coffee.

How to Store black cardamom (badi elaichi)
• Store it in an airtight jar in a cool and dry place, in order to retain the aroma.
• It will stay good for a year in dry conditions.

Health Benefits of black cardamom (badi elaichi)
• It is used to soothe digestion problems.
• May also be used to treat respiratory problems such as asthma or respiratory spasms.
• Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing muscle spasms.