As I was cleaning my herb and spice cupboard, I came across the box of fennel seeds. Opening the box and inhaling the sweet aroma of this herb, I realised I had not written about this versatile herb. So, here is the new addition in the section of health in my kitchen – saunf (fennel).
My early memories of eating saunf is during the winters in Ahmedabad, where many pedlars roamed on the streets with a cart full of fresh fennel (tiny green seeds on stalk), tamarind, ripe badam fruit, wild berries, star fruit, etc. After school or college, we used to mill around them and buy to our heart’s content or rather as much as the pocket money allowed. Now, fresh fennel tastes different from dried one. It is softer, sweeter and spicier.
Fennel is a herb but is used as a spice in Indian cooking. Every Indian household has saunf in their spice box, in fact it’s a must in paanch phoron in Bengali cooking. Also, it’s a popular mukhvas – mouth freshener that you eat post meals. Don’t go by the name, as much as it freshens up the mouth, it helps in digestion too.
So let me tell you the benefits of saunf or fennel seeds:
- Saunf’s digestive powers are quite well known. It helps in secreting digestive juices and thus aids in digestion.
- It helps in the manufacture of haemoglobin and prevents anaemia.
- It takes care of irregular menses and regular and proper menstrual flow on time.
- Stimulates milk secretion in lactating mothers.
- It acts as an antacid, antiflatulent and a laxative.
- It controls cholesterol levels.
- It detoxifies the body and boosts metabolism.
There are various ways of consuming fennel:
Apart from regular cooking, you can make mukhvas and store it. There are various ways of making mukhvas using fennel. I dry roast equal quantity of fennel seeds and carom seeds separately. Add powdered rock salt and mix them. Store this in an air tight container. Have a spoonful after meals.
One can consume fennel tea – boil fennel seeds in water, add lemon and honey. Or if you want, add green tea leaves.
While fennel bulbs are used in cooking (I came know only when I started watching Masterchef Australia), I have not come across Indian recipes using bulbs. Does anyone here cooks with bulbs?
How did you like today’s health in my kitchen – saunf (fennel)? Do let me know? Also I would love to know in what ways do you consume fennel?