Using Fennel Seeds (Saunf) in Indian Cooking
Fennel seeds look similar to cumin seeds but they are slightly bigger than and have a slight green tinge with thicker ridges. They have a very distinct, warm, aniseed or liquorice like flavour which becomes slightly bitter when toasted.
In India fennel is chewed after most meals firstly to act as a breath-freshener and secondly as a digestive. These are also given out in restaurants as a seed mix - they are usually covered with a multicoloured sugar coating that look like hundreds and thousands.
Fennel is very good for relieving the feeling of being bloated. Fennel water is also given to babies to help with colic.
Fennel is used in a variety of dishes and spices mixtures to flavour meat, lentils as well as sweets. In Kashmiri cooking it is the key spice used for a traditional Rogan Josh to give a wonderful aniseed undertone. The whole seeds are also commonly used in pickles and chutneys and is well known as the key spice used for flavouring sweet Indian Chai.Back to Cooking guides