Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those unfamiliar with the spice; actually it is used best in hearty meat stews and similar dishes.
The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to green cardamom pods, but those have a different flavour. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavour and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames and render it more suited for spicy dishes.
The smoky fragrance of the pure spice is not discernible in the finished dish; black cardamom cannot dominate a dish, but enhances and intensifies the taste of other ingredients. The pods should be slightly crushed before usage, but not so much that the seeds are released.