Gourmet Food Source
Not particularly well known outside of its native India, ajowan is a member of the same family as caraway, cumin and dill and comes from a plant, which is related to lovage and similar in appearance to wild parsley.
The seeds are a red/brown colour and the Indians chew them whole but be warned, they are strikingly hot and bitter when eaten like this. When combined and cooked with other ingredients they seem to lose a lot of their heat and have pronounced thyme like flavour.
Ajowan is also grown commercially in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iran and the seeds, which contain thymol, are processed into an oil for use in food production and antiseptics. In culinary terms, ajowan is most commonly found in breads, Indian pulse dishes, snack mixes, fish and vegetarian dishes. Not always easy to find, most Asian stores will sell them as whole seeds.
Content and picture © Miles Collins