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Fennel seed is a highly aromatic and flavourful herb, derived from a shrub. The seeds are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour.
Crushed fennel seeds
Crushed fennel seeds refer to the fennel seeds which have been crushed or pounded into a coarse powder. It can be easily prepared at home. Roast and cool the fennel seeds and crush them coarsely using a mortar-pestle or placing them between 2 plastic sheets and crushing using a rolling pin. Crushed fennel seeds can be stored in an air-tight container and use as required.
Fennel seeds powder
To make fennel seeds powder, grind the required amount of fennel seeds in a dry blender. Grind it coarsely or finely depending on the recipe requirement. Store this powder in a cool and dry place. It can be added to dry masala powders used for making various gravies and curries. This powder may also be added to pickles, like mango pickle, lemon pickle, etc.
How to select
• Always choose fennel seeds that are not contaminated with dust, stones and other debris.
• Prefer those sold in sealed packets, to ensure a good aroma.
• Do not go for grey fennel seeds as they are very mature and are likely to have lost their flavour.
• Fennel seeds are mostly eaten after meals, as they aid digestion and also act as a mouth freshener.
• Add fennel seeds to salads, soups and stews.
• It is an essential herb in the Bengali five-spice mix (panch phoron), which is used to flavour vegetable dishes and curries.
• 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 relax the intestines and reduce bloating caused by indigestion.
• They can also cure bad breath problems and chronic coughs.
• Fennel water is a key ingredient in the ‘Gripe Water’ used to relieve flatulence in babies.
• It is also used in relieving colic and teething troubles.
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