What is Ajwain?
Ajwain (pronounced aj’o-wen) is a member of the Umbelliferae family, which has some 2,700 members including dill , caraway and cumin. It is mostly found in Indian cooking, where it is also known as bishop’s weed or carom. It is particularly suited to the delicate vegetarian fare found in the state of Gujarat.
Smell: a pungent thyme/cumin fragrance
Flavour: a harsh thyme-like flavour with a bit of a kick, leaving a milder, pleasant aftertaste
Hotness Scale: 5
Preparation and Storage
Ajwain is usually ground in mortar and pestle, or crushed by rubbing between hands or fingertips before using. When used whole, for parathas or other breads, lightly bruise the seeds first, to release oils and increase flavour. The seeds can be stored indefinitely if kept from light in airtight containers.
Substitute for ajwain
Health Benefits of Ajwain
Ajwain seeds contain an essential oil which is about 50% thymol which is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide. Thymol is also used in toothpaste and perfumery. It is used in a steeped liquid form against diarrhea and flatulence. In India the seeds are used as a household remedy for indigestion and colic, and used in poultices to relieve asthma and arthritis. It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing a husband’s enjoyment in his middle years.
Ajave Seeds, Ajowan, Ajvain, Ajwan, Bishop’s Weed, Carom, Ethiopian Cumin, Omam, Omum
Indian: ajvini, ajwain, javane
Scientific Name and Classification
Trachyspermum ammi syn carom ajowan, carom copticum Fam Umbelliferae