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Anardana refers to the dried seeds of the pomegranate fruit. A variety of wild pomegranate called daru, which grows in the southern Himalayas, is reputed to yield the best anardana.
Bits of pomegranate pulp remain on the seeds as they dry, so the slightly sticky seeds with a fruity, mildly sweet and tangy taste are used as a souring agent in Indian cuisine. They are used mainly in vegetable and legume dishes, as well as a few Moghlai dishes. Roasted and ground anardana replaces lime juice in the cuisines of regions where fresh lime in not available in certain seasons.
How to Select
Roasted pomegranate seeds
To roast pomegranate seeds, place them on a hot non-stick pan and dry roast till they turn crisp and aroma comes out from the seeds. Cool and use as required. These roasted pomegranate seeds are used in variety of dishes like cakes, Iranian dishes and middle eastern dishes too to add some extra aroma and flavour.
• Anardana is available in whole dried and powdered form.
• If you prefer convenience, buy anardana powder but if you are particular about the texture, go for the seeds, which can be roasted, powdered coarsely and added to dishes.
• Whole dried seeds last longer than the powder. Culinary Uses
• Pomegranate seeds are used as a souring agent in Indian cooking, in a manner similar to tamarind, kokum and amchur.
• With their sweetish sour flavour, they are a wonderful addition to vegetable and legume dishes like Chole, Dal Tadka and Aloo Anardana.
• Dried pomegranate seeds are also used in Iranian cooking.
• It is an interesting alternative to raisins in cakes and other European desserts.
• Interestingly, pomegranate seeds also have preservative qualities (similar to the properties of lemon juice) and can also be used as a thickening agent.
• It may be used in sour chutneys or as a sprinkling over salads.
• In the Middle East, it is used often to garnish dishes such as hummus, salads and tahini.How to Store
• If stored in a tightly-sealed container, preferably in the refrigerator, it lasts for up to a year.