Chinese Black Cardamom (Cao Guo, Tsao Ko)
Cao guo, or Chinese cardamom, is a species of black cardamom (sometimes called red cardamom) related to Indian black cardamom but subtly different in look and flavor. It is also very different from green cardamom, as it is smoked during the drying process and has an incredible smoky layer on top of the camphor cardamom flavor. Grown in Yunnan, it is used widely there and is also an important component of Sichuan soups and meat braises. You'll also find it in hot pot and dry pot spice mixes.
Use the whole pod in soups and braises, slightly crushed to intensify flavor. (Some Sichuan chefs use only the empty shell pod.) Or crack open the pods with a cleaver or other heavy implement, extract the seeds from the sticky interior and grind them for use in spice mixes.
Source: Grown in Yunnan Province
Size: 3 ounces (85 grams)