I came across black cardamom for the first time on a recent holiday to Queensland. The market’s ‘spice lady’ at a local market had me intrigued when she told me that the seeds of black cardamom pods have a smokey flavour. I later discovered this flavour comes from how the pods are dried over open flames. Of course I bought home a small sample – and put them to good use in this recipe.
Where does black cardamom come from? Nepal and India are the largest producers. But this doesn’t mean it’s easy to come by. You’re much less likely to find black pods in the spice section of your local grocery store or supermarket compared to green ones. You’re also less likely to find black cardamom used in recipes. Unlike green pods the black ones aren’t used in desserts, rather they’re especially suited to slow cooked meaty dishes.
Black cardamom beef – with beef mince or beef short ribs
If you can get your hands on some black cardamom and you’re a fan of hearty stews then try this recipe. I found it at myrecipes.com and experimented with beef mince instead of beef short ribs. I reduced the quantities to serve 2-4 people and made some other small changes too.
As well as black cardamom you’ll also need a good dose of garam masala, an Indian spice blend. I’ve receently converted from store bought to homemade garam masala and so I was almost jumping with joy to find another recipe that uses this toasty spice blend – really I was (it is that good).
- 600g beef mince & 1 black cardamom pod* OR or 1kg beef short ribs & 2 black cardamom pods*
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 long fresh green chilli, minced
- 1 red pepper/capsicum chopped into cubes
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
- 1/4 tsp salt
* Pods should be cracked open, seeds removed (the pods are large with lots of seeds so one or two is enough)
- Add 1 tbsp of the oil or ghee to a large pot and brown the mince on a medium-high heat. See note below if you’re using beef short ribs.
- Reserve the mince and add the remaining oil or ghee to the pan. Cook the diced onions for 5-10 minutes on a low-medium heat.
- Add the minced ginger and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Ground the cardamom seeds (and even the shells if you like) with the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice blender, then add them to the pan. Also add the garam masala and salt.
- After a minute or so return the cooked mince (or ribs) to the pan and add the tomatoes. Stir well and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid.
- For beef mince cook covered either on the stovetop on a low heat for 2 hours or in the oven at 150C for two hours. For beef ribs cook covered in the oven at 150C for three to four hours.
- Stir through the red pepper/capsicum during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking time. And if the sauce isn’t thick enough leave the pan uncovered for the last 15 minutes or so.
Note: for beef short ribs boil them in a saucepan of water for 10 minutes or so, or until the scum/foam rises to the surface. Remove the scum/foam and then the ribs. Once the ribs are dry brown them in the first step above and then continue the rest of the recipe as normal.
Serve with a raw cabbage salad, fresh coriander and cucumber raita. And of course lots flat breads.
If you have any tips for using black cardamom then I’d love to hear them…..
By Laura (Feast Wisely)
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