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Also Known as
Ajwain, bishops weed, Thymol seeds, Ajma, Ajmodika, Onum, Thymol seeds, Carom Seeds, Bishop's weed
An herb belonging to the cumin and parsley family, carom seeds (ajwain) are tiny, erect and oval-shaped with a sharp and penetrating taste. It has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties. Carom seeds are mostly used in whole form, and very rarely as a powder.
How to Select
Carom seeds (ajwain) powder
To make carom seeds powder, first roast the seeds on a low flame, cool and then grind to powder. This powder comes handy for culinary and medical purposes.
• Ajwain is mostly sold as whole seeds, as that is the most common form in which it is used in Indian cooking.
• Choose seeds that look crisp and fresh, and have a strong aroma.
• Checked the date of packing and choose a recent lot, as very old stock would have lost much of its aroma.
• Avoid buying from open bins to avoid contamination. When buying packaged also, inspect it as well as possible to avoid contamination by stones, debris, etc.
• If you require ajwain powder, buy the whole seeds and grind at home.Culinary Uses
• Thanks to its strong aroma and distinctive taste, ajwain is used in small quantities as part of the tadka for many dishes, especially dals and subzis.
• It may also be used in the batter used for bhajias to enhance the aroma and ease digestion.
• You can also add a little ajwain when preparing the dough for paratha, as it imparts a wonderful, penetrating aroma when the paratha roasts on the griddle.
• It is also added to pickles for its preservative qualities.
• Ajwain helps reduce the flatulence causing effect of beans. It also aids in digestion.
• Being a good digestive, it added to the buttermilk served after a meal or eaten in dry roasted form.
• Add thyme to your favourite pasta sauce recipe. Season soups and stocks with fresh thyme. How to Store
• It can be kept fresh in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.
• It will stay fresh for a year. Health benefits
• Ajwain seeds are much valued as a medicine due to its digestive, healing and curative properties.
• The seeds are useful in counteracting spasmodic disorders.
• A teaspoon of ajwain seeds with a little rock-salt or a mixture of the seeds and buttermilk can be taken for indigestion.
• It can also be chewed in a raw or roasted form.
• A combination of fennel seeds (saunf), sesame seeds (til), dhania dal and ajwain seeds aids digestion. Mukhwas of the above ingredients acts as a very good mouth freshener.
• Omum water, that is, the water distilled from the seeds is an excellent cure for indigestion.
• In case of flatulence, ajwain and dried ginger in equal weight may be soaked in two and half times the quantity of lime juice. This is then dried and powdered with a little black salt. A teaspoon of this taken with a little warm water works wonders.
• It acts as an appetizer, if taken twice or thrice in a day, either in raw or roasted form.
• Hot fomentation with the seeds is a popular and effective remedy for asthma. It helps relieve shortness of breath.
• A tablespoon of seeds crushed and tied up in a cloth bundle can be used for inhalation, during nasal congestion. It has a remarkable power to open up the clogged and congested nasal passage.
• Application of the oil extracted from the seeds works effectively in the treatment of rheumatic pains.
• An infusion of the seeds with common salt is useful for sore and congested throat and hoarseness of voice due to colds or shouting.