seeds of Amomum subulatum, Black cardamom
Amomum subulatum Samen
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Amomum subulatum, also called Black cardamom, is a plant species that belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. The plant’s synonym is Amomum costatum. Common names include Bengal cardamom, winged cardamom, Indian cardamom, and hili cardamom. Amomum subulatum is native to the slopes of the Himalayas Mountains. The plant’s distribution stretches through India, Nepal, and Myanmar all the way to China. The largest producers of the plant are India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Amomum subulatum can reach a maximum height of 1.5 metres. The plant’s leaves grow high up on the stem. The rhizome’s base is the point at which the buds of flowers appear during spring. One can find such buds within some of the red bracts. Flowers sprout during early spring and continue appearing throughout the summer until early fall. The plant produces seeds which one can dry over a fire to create the spice. The spice has a smoky camphor-like aroma which serves to add flavour to a variety of foods except for sweet dishes. The smoky flavour present in the spice is as a result of the drying process that went into making it. Afghanis use the plant’s seeds to make char masala which is an important spice to their cuisine. Char masala is effective at spicing up various meats. One can also use the spice to add a strong aroma to tea. Vietnamese people use the spice in the making of a broth which one can eat with a noodle soup called pho. A good chunk of the produce from the commercial growing of the plant goes to companies that use the seeds to flavour beverages and sweets. Another use of the pods is in the flavouring of Rice filaffs. The process involves the crushing of whole pods before being sprinkled all over the food. Amomum subulatum comfortably grows at altitudes of between 300 and 1300 metres above sea level.
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