Indian Cooking with Carom Seeds (Ajwain): Things to Know

Carom seeds, also known as ajwain or bishop weed, are small seeds used as a spice in cooking. They have a thyme-like aroma and are highly fragrant.

Carom seeds have a strong flavor with notes of anise and oregano, and they possess a pungent smell. They were historically used in African and Indian cuisines.

Carom seeds originated in Asia Minor (now Turkey) and Persia (now Iran) and are currently grown in Iran and India. They are sometimes eaten raw and are also popularly used as a spice in cooking.

Uses of Carom Seeds in Indian Cuisines

Indian Cooking with Carom Seeds (Ajwain)

Carom seeds add a unique taste to various dishes. To use carom seeds in a dish, it is recommended to fry or roast them before adding them.

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Ajwain (carom seeds) is commonly added to snacks, tadka (tempering), or other cooking processes to enhance the overall flavor.

In some cases, carom seeds are crushed and added to the dish towards the end of cooking to bring out their flavors.

There are several uses for carom seeds, including:

  • Making ajwain tea by boiling carom seeds in water during tea preparation.
  • Sprinkling carom seeds on salads and dressings.
  • Soaking carom seeds overnight and consuming the infused water in the morning.
  • Adding carom seeds to soups, spice rubs, fruits, and other dishes.
  • Incorporating carom seeds in recipes such as pakoras, parathas, puri, samosa, and others, to enhance taste and aid digestion.

Taste of Carom Seeds

Carom seeds contain a compound called thymol, which contributes to their taste and aroma. They have a strong and powerful flavor with a mixture of bitterness. Carom seeds do not have a liquorice flavor.

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Questions & Answers:

Are Carom Seeds and Jeera the Same?

Carom seeds and jeera (cumin) are different seeds with distinct tastes. Carom seeds, also known as ajwain, are not the same as jeera (cumin). They are used as separate ingredients in cooking.

What Are Carom Seeds Good For?

Carom seeds are known for their digestive properties and their ability to enhance the flavors of food.

Are Ajwain and Carom Seeds the Same?

Ajwain is the Hindi name for carom seeds. The terms "ajwain" and "carom seeds" refer to the same spice.

What is the Best Way to Consume Carom Seeds?

Carom seeds can be consumed in various ways based on personal preference. One common method is to mix carom seeds with a glass of warm water and drink it directly. However, they can also be used in cooking or consumed in capsule form.

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What Are Carom Seeds Called in Different Languages?

Carom seeds are known as "Ajwain" in Hindi and "Jowan" in Bengali. In addition, they have other names in different regions, such as omum, Ethiopian cumin, ajave seeds, and ajowan caraway.


Finally, carom seeds, also known as ajwain or bishop weed, are small seeds used as a spice in cooking.

They have a strong flavor and aroma, adding a unique taste to various dishes.

Carom seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisines, and they are known for their digestive properties.

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