caraway seeds
Last Updated : Oct 27,2023

What is Caraway Seeds (shahjeera)? Glossary | Uses | Benefits + Recipes |
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What is Caraway Seeds, Shahjeera?

Caraway or Persian cumin (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and western Asia. What we commonly call as caraway seeds are actually fruits of the plant, but they are addressed colloquially as seeds by people around the world! The fruits are crescent-shaped, around 2 mm long, brown in colour, and sharp to touch with five pale ridges.

The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavour and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods like sauerkraut, for example. It is also used to add flavour to cheeses.

How to select Caraway Seeds, Shahjeera
• Caraway seeds look very similar to cumin.
• They are dark brown, and can be bought whole or ground.
• Look for whole seeds that are dark brown with light brown ridges.
• Ground caraway seeds are also very dark brown in colour.

Culinary uses of Caraway Seeds, Shahjeera

Caraway seeds most important ingredient in any Indian masala. Try out different types of masalas, and store it in an airtight container and make amazing recipes. 
1.      Biryani Masala an essential item in a typical Indian kitchen. Cooked with a mix of rice and veggies, biryani masala powder gives rise to an aromatic and flavourful Biryani.

2.      Chole Masala Powder a freshly-ground batch of powder will beat any commercial brand hands down.

3.      Malvani Masala a very appetizing flavour and irresistible aroma, which results from the interplay of over a dozen spices! 

4.      Goda Masala used in several traditional Maharashtrian dishes, to give a tongue-tickling flavour and appetising aroma.

5.      Garam Masala easy to make as it involves roasting and blending of Indian spices.

Royal dishes, biryani and pulao are incomplete without caraway seeds. It gives a nice aroma to the dishes and flavour as well.  

1.      Achari Paneer Pulao nice pulao with a mild pickle, but it comes in a single package, making it convenient to serve or pack.

2.      Shahi Pulao  a rice dish that is loaded with spices, veggies and a horde of other ingredients, which give it a memorable flavour and texture.

3.      Tendli Bhaat a real spicy preparation of rice and tendi, which totally masks the sober nature of tendli transforming it into an exciting ingredient that will be loved by all.

Caraway is widely used as a spice for flavouring bread, biscuits, cakes and cheese.
• It is also used as medicine to relieve stomach ailments.

How to store Caraway Seeds, Shahjeera
• Store in an air-tight container in a dry, cool area, to retain the aroma and flavour for longer.
• Always buy ground caraway in small quantities and store in an airtight container.

Health benefits of Caraway Seeds, Shahjeera
• Caraway seeds contain appreciable moisture, protein, fat and a substantial amount of carbohydrates besides ash, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains vitamins C and A.
• It is beneficial in activating the glands, besides increasing the action of the kidneys.
• The seeds are also useful in strengthening the stomach functions. In specific, they relieve flatulence and are useful in flatulent colic, countering any possible adverse effects of medicines. For flatulence, a cup of tea made from caraway seeds taken thrice a day, after meals, will give relief.
• Caraway seed oil is used orally in overcoming bad breath or insipid taste.

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