Carom Seeds (Ajwain) : Finding the Fruit
Very sharp yet with only a somewhat-bitter flavour, Carom seeds are not seeds. Shocking, I know; but they are actually fruits which we, in our ignorance, have accepted as seed.
Like cumin, Bishop’s weed (another name for Ajwain) is harvested by rooting out the entire plant, drying them in bundles and then threshing it to separate the fruit.
By fragrance, a lot of people confuse the spice with thyme because both have the same aromatic oil – thymol. You can say ajwain is the less subtle cousin of thyme as it has a stronger scent.
Why Use Carom Seeds: The Benefits of the Spice
When you want to boost digestibility, you add turmeric to a recipe. Ayurveda taught us this and western medicine hammered in the fact. What’s astounding is that carom seeds rival Haldi. The right dose of Ajwain is a strong cleanser that really gets the appetite going.
Sprinkle to any dish you feel is too rich to digest and carom seeds will do their wonders by warming up cold digestion.
How do they do so? By increasing Pitta, the concept in Ayruveda that represents metabolism. In plainer terms, the spice enhances digestion.
Bishop’s Weed: A Quick How-To
For us Indians, carom seeds are a staple in flavouring virtually every lentil dish we make. These little egg-shaped seeds pack a punch when fried with oil or ghee (clarified butter) and diffuse a yummy flavour throughout the dish.
A tiny amount goes a long way with Ajwain. A tad much and they dominate every other spice in the recipe. So, use the herb with a light hand. Where else can you sprinkle carom seeds besides the ubiquitous chaunk ( tempering)?
- Remember those biscuits we all grew up eating ? Give those crispy and savoury treats bursting with spicy Ajwain a try at home with this wholegrain cracker recipe.
- If no meal is complete without a condiment for you, then this Aam ki Launji with a hint of Ajwain is what you need.
- For something mildly spicy, toss beetroot, apple and a pinch of carom seeds together for a sweet yet sour chutney
- There are some days when we pine for home-cooked stuff. For those days, I relay on Namak-paray (crackers) heavily flavoured with carom seeds.
Tasha’s Inside Tip
It’s uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing. Yet, each one of us bloat at some point. How do you get rid of it? Right before you go to sleep, chew a teaspoon of carom seeds. If the taste is not to your sensitivity, then boil them in a cup of water. Sip the strained water during the day. Trust me, Ajwain is magical at curing bloating.
I hope you are enjoying my #spiceseries blogs.
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