Black Cardamom Rub recipe

By Martin Zibauer »Martin Zibauer

Black cardomom ain't pretty, but its smoky, resinous flavour makes a handsome spice rub for grilling.

June 27th, 2011


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Gnarly brown pods of black cardamom aren’t nearly as attractive as green cardamom, but they have a unique smoky flavour and a camphor-like aroma (reminiscent of juniper), well suited to savoury dishes. The pods are dried over a fire, which accounts for their smokiness. It’s an unusual spice that’s not too hard to find and well worth experimenting with. Look for black cardamom pods (and green ones too) in Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Black Cardamom Rub

By Martin Zibauer

This flavourful grilling rub is very loosely based on the peppery Middle Eastern spice blend baharat, which typically includes green cardamom. A good baharat has all the spices in balance, with no one flavour standing out. I’ve used this dry rub on grilled lamb and ribs. Cooking does seem to moderate the smokiness of the black cardamom, but it’s still there. If you can’t find black cardamom, just substitute green.

Hands-On Time: 5 minutes | Start to Finish: 5 minutes

7–8 black cardamom pods
2 tsp coriander seed (10 ml)
2 tsp whole cloves (10 ml)
1 tbsp black peppercorns (15 ml)
1 tbsp paprika (15 ml)
1 tbsp salt (15 ml)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (5 ml)

1. To make grinding easier, chop cardamom pods roughly or tear them in pieces.
2. In a spice grinder, grind whole spices. Combine with paprika, salt and cinnamon.

Tips: I grind my spices on a coarse setting and then, on a finer setting, regrind any bits that won’t pass through a mesh strainer. You’ll probably find some pieces of the cardamom husk don’t want to go through the grinder at all. Just discard them–most of the flavour is in the seeds.

Yield: Makes about 1/3 cup (75 ml).

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Martin Zibauer