Step three: Prepare the curry
A day or several hours before serving, crack the black cardamom pods, discarding the shells. Add the black cardamom seeds to a wok set over medium-low heat. Toast the seeds, stirring frequently, until they are slightly dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Pound and grind the seeds to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle (or use a spice grinder). Repeat with the star anise.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the curry paste, 1 tablespoon of the ground black cardamom, 2 teaspoons of ground star anise, turmeric, and ginger, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fragrant and a thin layer of oil has begun to emerge, about 20 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium, add the beef, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the beef is just firm, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, the black soy sauce, sugar, and MSG (if using), and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 1 hour. Open the lid slightly and simmer until the beef is very tender and a layer oil has risen to the top, another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary; the curry should taste meaty and slightly salty, and it should be fragrant from the dried spices.
Step six: Prepare the bowls
For each serving: Warm up the beef curry, adding a few tablespoons of water, if necessary (the mixture should be thick but somewhat pourable). Bring the coconut milk and coconut cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring at least 6 inches of water to a boil in a stockpot over high heat. Put 2 3/4 ounces (75 grams) of noodles in a noodle basket and boil, agitating the basket until the noodles are just tender, about 20 seconds. Remove the noodles, drain, and add to a serving bowl. Top with a scant 1/2 cup of the beef curry and a scant 1/2 cup of the coconut milk mixture.