Ajwain, does the name ring any familiar tone in your mind? Well, it does to me. Having lived a large part of my life in India, the typical aroma of Ajwain catapults me into a favorite childhood memory.
I still remember my 80-year-old grandma fondly nibbling ajwain seeds after her meals. Her typical gnawing that went for hours together, held me in awe and I never failed to ask her, Dadi (Hindi word for grandma), why do you chew ajwain? Her innocent answer would be, “It is to boost my fragile digestion so that I do not suffer from any dyspepsia”.
As a 10-year old child, my mind could not fathom most of her explanation. But, today when I reflect on my dadi’s response, I am filled with admiration for her. Despite being a simple housewife from a small hill town in India, she had her facts in place.
Let’s learn through the following blog what makes Ajwain so special.
Ajwain or carom seeds are derived from herbs grown in India. The color of ajwain seeds varies from slight olive green to brown. Ajwain has a very strong aroma and bitter-pungent flavor, a bit like oregano. For this reason, it makes for a very good addition to pickles.
How to use ajwain seeds in daily cooking?
- You can add the seeds to curries or dry recipes by heating ghee in a pan and then adding the seeds along with other spices like cumin seeds, turmeric, salt, and coriander powder.
- You can also roast ajwain seeds. This heightens both its aroma and flavor. Dry roast by constantly stirring the seeds in a pan, on a low-medium flame. You can even roast them by adding little ghee or butter. These roasted seeds are then added along with the above-mentioned spices to curries or dry recipes.
Just to mention, my dadi would dry-roast the seeds and add a little bit of black salt before storing them in a small glass bottle. She would keep it by her bedside and pop up a bit into her mouth after every meal.
Ajwain seeds come with the twin benefit of health packed with a beautiful aroma. Let’s take a look into its numerous health benefits-
- Good for digestion- Ajwain provides instant relief from indigestion and acidity. Adding a bit of ajwain into your daily meals keeps your stomach strong.
- Treats cold- It is believed to prevent nasal blockage. Consuming 2 tsps paste of ajwain seeds with jaggery every day helps you fight cold.
- Treats toothache- If you are looking for instant relief from a toothache, take 1 teaspoon of ajwain and salt, and gargle with lukewarm water. Simply gargling with this water makes for an excellent mouthwash too.
- Water- Ajwain water, also called Oma water is considered magical in Ayurveda. It is often given to babies and pregnant women to reduce the discomfort caused by gas. To prepare, boil 2 teaspoons of roasted ajwain seeds in water. Strain this mixture and drink. This is also known to boost your rate of metabolism thus aiding in weight loss.
To conclude, let me wrap up the article by giving you a quick recipe of Ajwain Paratha. Ajwain Paratha with mango pickle is one of the fondest memories that I have of my mother. She used to pack this lunch lovingly for me and my sister to school.
How to prepare Ajwain Paratha -
- Whole wheat flour dough- 1 cup
- Salt as per taste
- Ajwain- 2 pinches
- Ghee- 1 tablespoon (for roasting)
- Roll the dough using some dry flour, add a bit of melted ghee, salt, and ajwain seeds evenly
- Fold into a triangle or round shape as per your wish
- Place it on a heated Tava. Flip when one side is cooked. Spread some ghee and keep pressing till both sides are cooked.
- You can make it more crispy by applying a generous amount of ghee.
- Relish on its own or with pickle or curry
How to store Ajwain?
Store it in an airtight glass container, in a cool and dry place.
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