Ajwain (pronounced uj-wine) is a kind of seed-like fruit that is often utilized for Indian food preparation in an ingredient mix of spices. It resembles the fennel or Cumin seeds and has a very aromatic, with a scent reminiscent of thyme. The flavor, however, is more similar to anise and oregano because of the bitter notes and strong taste. Due to its potency it is recommended to use a small amount as it goes far. The plant is found across India and Iran, ajwainis sometimes referred to as bishops’ seeds or carom weed, is seldom consumed raw, but is usually cooked prior to adding it to a dish. It is available in powder and seeds but cooking it with seeds is more popular.
What is Ajwain?
Similar to coriander as well as cumin as well as Fennel Ajwain is part of the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae) family of plants. The leaves of the shrub are feathery and its fruit, often known as seeds are pale dark khaki with ridges and oval-shaped. Ajwain is extensively used since ancient times for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes and is a component the cuisine of Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cooking.
The ajwain plant is believed to have its origins in Persia (Iran) along with Asia Minor (what is now Turkey). It then was introduced across India and is currently being grown throughout India, the Middle East and North Africa. Ajwain is also known by other names such as the following: ajowan, caraway from ajowan Ajave seeds, Ajvain, anjwan, Ethiopian the cumin and omum depending on the location where it’s grown in the world.
What is it like to taste?
Since both ajwain as well as thyme contain the thymol compound and thymol, the Indian spice has similar notes to that of it is a green plant. It is however, ajwain also combines this earthymint flavor with the bitterness of oregano and the bite of cumin as well as the licorice taste of anise. This flavor usually is not noticed until after. Carom is an extremely complex and powerful impression and is able to take over other ingredients.
Cooking with Ajwain
Due to its strong and dominant flavor, ajwain can be used in very small amounts and is generally cooked. In Indian cooking this spice is typically included in the Tadka in the dish. Tadka or tempering is a cooking technique where butter or oil (most commonly the latter is referred to as ghee) will be cooked to a very hot temperature and the whole spices are added , and cooked, resulting in what’s known as an Chaunk. The mixture of spices and oil is then mixed into lentil dishes or served to add a final flavor or garnishing dishes.
When cooking a dish that is high in starch or fats raw or cooked, ajwain is a good addition towards the final stage of the recipe. its sharpness is a pleasing complement to the richness of the ingredients. If not, the seed will benefit from a lengthy cooking time , as the heat softens the flavor of thyme and intensifies the anise flavor. The seeds can also be used in biscuit dough and bread and then sprinkled on top of the baked.
If a recipe calls to carom powder, the seeds must be cooked, then later cooled and crushed into an extremely fine powder.
Recipes Using Ajwain
The recipe is used in Indian dishes, the ajwain can be utilized in curries as a tadka for pakoras and dals as well as as a flavoring ingredient in breads. Middle Eastern recipes incorporate carom to enhance the taste of rice and meat dishes, and also for preservatives in pickles, chutneys, and jams.
- Namkeen: Savory Snack Foods
- Kurkuri Bhindi: Indian Crispy Okra
- Ajwain Paratha (add ajwain to the dough)
Where can I buy Ajwain
Ajwain seeds are available in Indian markets for food and specialty spice shops and even online. Though it is usually sold as a seed If you discover powdered versions, it’s recommended to stay clear of it since the flavor is likely to have gone down Instead, purchase the seeds and crush them at home whenever you need to. Typically, you’ll discover the spice available in large quantities or packed with plastic bag. Pick carom seeds that appear fresh and crisp, with an astringent scent. Ajwain that has sat on the shelf for a lengthy time may have lost some of its aroma.
If the ajwain was purchased in large quantities as well as in bags it should be transferred to a different container. If you’ve got a huge amount, you can place it in a used spice glass jar or small glass container and then transfer the rest to larger glass containers. (Glass is not a sponge for the flavor as much as plastic containers do.) The carom seed should be kept in a dark, cool location where it can last at least one year.