Black cardamom is used for hearty meat stews and similar dishes. Although the flavor differs from the smaller green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its low cost.
Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those unfamiliar with the spice. It is just not as well suited for the sweet/hot dishes that typically include cardamom and that are more commonly prepared outside the plant’s native range.
In China, the pods are used for jin-jin braised meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the central-western province of Sichuan. The pods are often used in Vietnam, where they are called thảo quả and used as an ingredient in the broth for the noodle soup called phở.
The largest producer of the black cardamom is Nepal, followed by India and Bhutan. In traditional Chinese medicine, black cardamom is used for stomach disorders and malaria.