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Carom Seeds

Carom seeds popularly known as AJOWAN(pronounced aj’o-wen) in India is basically a Nature’s Pharmacy.

· Spice

A very flavorful sizzling aroma swished my nostrils as I opened the door…
My dad was making his awesome culinary piece of art “Carom leaves fritters”(Ajowain Patta pakoda)…

Green tender leaves were dipped in chickpea flour spice and deep fried till well done and crispy.

That was the most amazing treat to enjoy after coming from long day from school especially on a gloomy rainy day…

Most of you must have known about carom seeds and its use in culinary uses but you will fall in love with the flavor and aroma of this outstanding spice.

Knowing Carom Seeds

Carom seeds popularly known as AJOWAN(pronounced aj’o-wen) in India is basically a Nature’s Pharmacy. Carom seeds popularity in India isn’t limited to its ability to add kick to curries and aroma to breads and biscuits, but also for its medicinal magic in treating everyday ills.

A tree is native to Egypt but now grown in India, Iran and Pakistan. Carom seeds are tiny, erect and oval-shaped seeds with a very sharp and piercing taste.

The seeds are actually fruit which are mistaken as seeds. Its also called as "bishop's weed”.
The carom seeds are always sold as whole and sometimes in ground form. The spice always must be cooked to take away the numbing impact of the raw seeds. The longer it cooks, the mellower it gets. To enhance the flavor, first fry it in a little oil until it deepens in color. The small seeds are chewable, so they don’t have to be ground. if you’d rather grind the seeds, dry roast them first.

Health Benefits

1. Carom seeds are natural pain reliever… excellent for arthritis or migraine pain…

It’s a very common practice in Indian homes to drink carom seeds water instead of taking over the counter medicine for a headache, cough, cold, heartburn, or even allergies. Carom seeds are steeped in warm distilled water and the water is sipped whole day till symptoms lasts.

This traditional remedy now scientifically proved. Researchers have pin-pointed more than two dozen therapeutically active compounds in the small seeds. One of them is like morphine. Carom seeds contain thymol which is also helpful in numbing the pain.

2. Carom seeds boost respiratory health & treat asthma
The same key ingredient thymol has potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it an great remedy for treating sore throats and respiratory problems. Carom seeds not only soothe respiratory tract but it also promotes elimination of mucus and phlegm. It helps prevent the condition of asthma.
Apart from thymol the other healing ingredient carom seeds contain is choline. Choline helps the brain in sending healing messages to the body. The roasted carom seeds help heal gastrointestinal problems like heartburn, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea. The scientists proved that acetylcholine controls involuntary muscles lining the guts. Thus, carom seeds are classic example of an all-purpose healer right from asthma, high blood pressure, coughing, digestive issues to bacterial infections.

3. Carom seeds helps with breastfeeding
Many times, new mothers have problem breastfeeding the babies because of the lack of milk production. Carom seeds and fennel seeds together help in cleansing the uterus and increase milk production.

Around the world

  • In India, it is used in lentil dishes for flavor and to improve digestion and prevent gas. It is definitely used in appetizer fritter called pakora or a filled dumpling called samosa in Indian restaurants. Also commonly used in Indian baked goods, in a wafer-thin flat bread called pappadam, in the puffed, pastry-like fried bread poori and stuffed bread called paratha.
  • In Afghanistan, carom seeds are used in starchy foods like breads and pastries to add more flavor and ease digestion.
  • Carom seeds are crucial ingredient in the Ethiopian spice blend berbere, which is used to flavor vegetable dishes and meat stews.
  • In North Africa carom seeds are used to brighten the flavor in dishes with root vegetables and legumes.

Cooking with Carom seeds

  • Add carom seeds to meat and fish curries, lentil stews, and potato casseroles. Dry roast and add it to trail mix or spiced nut blends.
  • Add a pinch to homemade bread and pastry doughs. It gives slight sharpness and a kick to the pastry crust of a chicken potpie or other meat pies.
  • Sprinkle on top of steamed or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Blend roasted seeds into a butter for sautéing vegetables.
  • Fry it in oil and combine it with garlic, ginger and turmeric to make a stir-fry.

Home Remedies

1. Consuming crushed carom seeds with water can be a quick and easy remedy to soothe your respiratory tract
2. Take a liter of water and add a tbsp of fennel seeds along with half tbsp of carom seeds. Boil for 5 minutes and then, wait till it reaches room temperature. Consume this every day for increasing milk production.
3. Spread 1 tbsp of carom seeds on heated pan, inhale the steam and make a sachet and tuck it under the pillow before sleeping for treating cold, sinus and runny nose.
4. Keep the roasted carom seeds with dried grated coconut and fennel seeds in an air-tight container. Eat after every meal for easy digestion.

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