What Is Big Cardamom?
Big cardamom is 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.
Big Cardamom Plant and Cultivation
Big Cardamom can be cultivated from about 900 to 2000 m asl where severe frost do not occur and soils remain moist throughout the year. The ideal soil is acidic sandy loam soil and the soil depth should be 25 cm or more. The pH value of the soil should be about 5.0 to 6.5, which means acidic soil. The soil should have high organic carbon i.e. more than 3.5% organic carbon. On an average the soils should have high in available nitrogen and medium in available phosphorus and potassium. Water logged conditions are not suitable. This condition is naturally fulfilled as water logged areas is less on the slopping terrain where Big Cardamom is grown.
The Big Cardamom is a shade loving plant. It grows best in defused light under shade because direct sunlight is harmful to the plant. In summer months at least 50% of the full day sunlight must be intercepted. The day light intensity required for optimum growth of Big Cardamom is about 5,000 to 20,000 lux. Shady trees must be grown to protect the Big Cardamom plants from direct sunlight in summer and from frost in winter. In a newly established plantation distance between the shading trees should be about 5x5 meters and in a fully established plantation, depending upon the canopy size of individual species and their growth, the distance could be about 10x10 meters. A good crop of Cardamom requires about 3000 to 3500 mm rainfall per annum. To protect the plants from drought stress during dry months the plants should be mulched with dry leaves and trash accumulated from weeding of the orchard. Big Cardamom capsules must be dried soon after harvesting, from the original moisture contents of 70-80% to less than 10%.
Big Cardamom Description
Big Cardamom has a fresh, strong aroma. The pods have a distinct camphor-like flavor. Big Cardamom seeds have a dark brown appearance. They are known for their astringent aroma and camphor-like flavor. Both the pods and seeds are widely used in culinary dishes. They also have certain medicinal properties. The pods are 2 to 5 centimeters long, dark brown in color and covered with hairs. The rough outer surface of the pods is covered with wrinkles. Inside each pod there are almost 20 to 30 sticky seeds.
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 - Carminative Properties - Big cardamom is used as a carminative and a stimulant; it is effective in relieving indigestion and flatulence.
2 - Dental Health - Amomum subulatum is frequently used to cure dental problems and gum infections. It contains anti-bacterial element, which removes bacteria from the tooth. It reduces the toothache and inflammation of gums.
3 - Anti-Inflammatory Properties - Big Cardamom seeds have anti-inflammatory properties and they help in the reduction of muscle spasms.
4 - Respiratory Health - Big cardamom can heal respiratory problems like asthma and other types of respiratory spasms.
5 - Acidity - Big cardamom actives gastric and intestinal gland. Therefore, acidity problem will reduce.
6 - Blood Pressure - Big cardamom reduces the risk of blood clotting. It also controls the blood pressure.
7 - Cancer - Big cardamom has glutathione anti-oxidant, which prevents the breast, colon and ovarian cancer cells.
8 - Infection - Big cardamom contains anti-bacterial element, which prevent us from infection and strengthens the immune system.
8 - Healthy Skin - Big cardamom has vitamin C, potassium, and anti-oxidants, which purifies the blood. This makes skin healthy and shiny.
10 - Healthy Hair - Big cardamom has enough amounts of anti-oxidants. This makes hair thick, strong and soft.
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.