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Fennel seed is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb. It is derived from a shrub which is an erect aromat. Fennel seeds are pale greenish in colour and have a faint sweet and refreshing flavour.
How to select
Always choose fennel seeds that are free from stones and sealed in packets. Do not go for grey fennel seeds as they are very mature and hence have lost their flavour.
· Fennel seeds are mostly eaten after meals, as their aroma works as breath freshners.
· It flavours salads, soups and stews.
· It is essential herb in Bengali 5 spice (panch phoron) which is used to flavour vegetable dish and curries. It even flavours fish curries.
· It is used in marinades to marinate fish and chicken.
· It is also used to flavour eggs.
· It is also added to risotto.
How to store
Fennel seeds should be stored in air-tight bottles away from moisture and pests.
· Fennel seeds can cure bad breath problem and indigestion.
· They also relieve chronic coughs.
· Fennel water has properties mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'Gripe Water', used to ease flatulence in infants;
· It also can be made into syrup to treat babies with colic or painful Teething.
· Fennel seeds can relax intestines and reduce bloating caused by indigestion.
Fennel seed powder
Fennel seeds are air dried and grounded into fine powder. Powdered fennel seed powder is available ready-made in stores. One can select according to brand preference. The powder has to be stored in air-tight bottles away from moisture and pests. It keeps fresh for 5-6 months. Always choose the fennel seed powder made from organically grown fennel. In INidan cooking fennel powder is widely used to flavour all vegetable and meat dishes. It can be liberally sprinkled on soups, salads and stocks to flavour them. It can also be spread on pasta, pizza and eggs. It can also flavour dal, sambhar and other bean dishes. Fennel powder is also used in chicken and fish dishes. Fennel powder is used in marinades.
Roasted fennel seeds powder is also hugely used in cooking, To make roasted fennel seeds powder, dry roast the fennel seeds on medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes or till it emits an pleasant aroma, cool and dry gring and store in air - tight container. It will stay fresh for 2 to 3 months.