Organic Ground Ajwain
Ajwain seed, Trachysoermum ammi, pronounced "aj'o-wen", is a member of the Apiaceae i family (commonly called the carrot, celery or parsley family) and is related to anise, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley and parsnip. While some believe they're native to southern India, botanists have found the greatest genetic variety of Ajwain in the Eastern Mediterranean which means it's indigenous to that region.
The grayish-green seeds are curved and striped (resembling caraway or cumin seeds in appearance), often with a fine silk stalk still attached.
Ajwain has 2.5% to 5% essential oil, primarily phenols-thymol (35% to 60%) and carvacrol (about 11%).
Called ajwan, kamun al-mulaki or taleb el koub (Arabic), yin dou eng hui xiang (Mandarin), nanava (Farsi), ajowan (French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish) and ajwain or carom omum (Hindi). Also called Bishop's Weed, Carom and Ethiopian Cumin. Alternative spellings include Ajowan and Ajwan.
In ancient Egypt, ajwain seeds were used regularly as a medicine and as a culinary spice. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine (one of the world's oldest holistic "whole-body" healing systems), they have a long history treating asthma, persistent coughs, flatulence and indigestion. They were also prescribed as an antiseptic and a germicide. Ajwain is called for (as part of a combination of items) in both Pagan and Wiccan rituals as a talismanic spice (an object thought to contain certain magical properties for the possessor that either draws good luck or offers protection from potential evil or harm), typically kept in a pouch or juju bag.
Ajwain was introduced to central Europe in the middle of the 16th century.
Ajwain is an aromatic, herbaceous plant that reaches a height of 1-3 feet with numerous branched leafy stems. The leaves are pinnately divided (arrangement of feather-like or multi-divided features arising from both sides of the branch). It blooms with red flowers, which mature into small oval fruits that have a rough surface with numerous short points.
Ajwain is commercially grown in Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iran and Pakistan.
Our organic ajwain is grown in India.
Ajwain is typically found in Asian, Ethiopian, North Indian, Iranian and Pakistani cuisines and pairs well with starchy foods, especially ciabatta (long oblong, flat shaped Italian bread with a soft interior and a lightly crunchy crust), flat breads (such as paratha), green beans, legumes, and root vegetables. They're quite popular in North Indian (especially in Gujarat and Punjab) vegetarian dishes. When fired in butter or oil they release a thyme-like fragrance. Due to their overpowering flavor, whole seeds are not typically used early in the cooking process although they do well in some breads.
Good with fish (especially when used with garlic and lemon juice) and recipes using chickpea flour. Ajwain is frequently used in bean dishes as it relieves gas, similar to epazote's use in Mexican cuisine, and makes starchy foods and meats easier to digest.
Ajwain pairs well with fish curries, lentil stews, nuts, pasties and bitter vegetables.
Works well in combination with cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, fennel seed, ground cloves, garlic, pepper and turmeric.
The seeds are generally crushed and added to dishes during the final stage of cooking. Be sure to use sparingly as its bold flavor can easily make a dish bitter. When cooked the flavor mellows similar to oregano or thyme.
Because of the high oil content in the seeds they, quickly lose their flavor and we tend to prefer to use the whole organic ajwain seeds link to so that we can grind only what we need for any given recipe.
The fragrance is strong with thyme and cumin undertones and the taste is hot with a bit of an initial kick that then mellows a bit.
The aroma grows stronger when the seeds are first ground or when fried in oil or butter.
Ajwain can be used in place of cumin for a surprisingly different flavor and substituted for thyme when we are looking for a more robust thyme flavor.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*