Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ajowan Seeds - Jwaano, Javano ( ज्वानो, जवानो)

Ajowan Seeds - Jwaano, Javano (ज्वानो, जवानो)
Jwaano is used extensively in Nepali cooking.  These tiny gray-brown seeds have a striped surface and resemble celery seeds, but have a somewhat sharper and more pungent flavor.  If the seeds are chewed plain, they are quite strong, bitter, and stinging, but their aftertaste is is quite pleasant.  They are usually lightly fried to release their flavor and added at the beginning stages of the cooking process.  The seeds are sometimes lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle and added to batters.  Ajowan seeds are one of the most important spices in the much-loved Nepali Kwanti  (sprouted bean soup). 
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Close-up view of Ajowan seeds

Shopping at spice market at Ason Tole area, Kathmandu which offers exotic packaged spice blends, ground and whole spices,  momo spices (bite-size dumpling filled with meat or vegetables), and Nepali garam masala mixture.

Bags of whole spices at the market in Kathmandu
Jwaano seeds are also chewed on their own to help with bloating, and to aid digestion.  It is also believed that ajowan soup (jwaano ko ras) helps lactating mothers increase and maintain milk supplies.

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