Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cloves - Lwang - (ल्वाङ्ग)

Cloves - Lwang - (ल्वाङ्ग)

The dried buds of tropical evergreen tree, cloves are reddish-brown in color with rounded flower head.  They are one of the most important Nepali spices, used both for culinary and medicinal purpose.  In Sanskrit, cloves are called deva kusuma meaning "the flower of the gods" or auspicious bud." 
Cloves are either used whole or ground to flavor many Nepali dishes such as meat, poultry, vegetable stews, and rice, but rarely in sweet dishes.  When gently sauteed, the spice swells and releases a pleasant aroma.

Aside from its culinary use, cloves are also used to freshen one's mouth.  Nepalese chew cloves throughout the day, alone or with green or black cardamom or cinnamon sticks and betel nuts.  Chewing cloves is certainly a cultivated taste, and at first, they can be bitingly sharp, hot, and leave a numb sensation in the mouth, but once you get used to it you enjoy the taste.

A decorative bowl full of cloves  -  used as an air fresheners, a traditional air purifier  

I usually place cloves near the window table. When the warm sun hits the bowl in the winter afternoons, the wonderful fresh scent of clove fill the room.  Occasional stirring of the bowls enhance the aroma.  Bags of cloves can be purchased in the Indian food stores at much lower prices.

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