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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Carom seeds (Ajwain) - Onion Pararthas

Carom seeds have a light brown shade or a lighter army green (as fennel seeds / saunf) shade. They have a distinct aroma which is impossible to miss. They are pungent and if you don't like the taste, you would call it bitter. Like other spices, they too are used for a reason in an Indian kitchen. Ajwain / carom seeds are known to aid in digestion. In our region, infants are given a weekly/bi-weekly dosage of a little vaamu (caromseeds in Telugu), jaajikaya (nutmeg in Telugu) & maachikaya ( no idea about it's English name) to aid digestion. Jaajikaya and maachikaya are directly ground against a special stone meant for the purpose. Carom seeds are lightly ground. They are all mixed well with a little quantity of milk and fed to the infants who obviously don't enjoy it. I am not able to recall if any other spice is added to it as well. 4 years ago, when I came across carom seeds at a grocery store, the smallest package I could find was a 2 pound bag. I bought it, stored it in a bottle and could not finish it till now. I have noticed that unlike some spices, carom seeds don't lose their fragrance or flavor even after years. (I don't know about decades, though). I toss them some times in my roti / poori / bajji dough. Today I added them to the onion pararthas I was making. If the flavor is too strong, the quantity of the carom seeds can be reduced to a tsp. Ingredients to make 10 parathas: 2 cups of whole wheat flour (atta) + extra for dusting 2 onions, finely chopped 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro 2 tsp of ajwain 1 Tbsp of oil 1/4 tsp salt Scant 2/3 cups of water Oil /Ghee to fry Preparing the dough: Mix the flour, onions, cilantro, ajwain, oil and salt in a bowl. Gradually add the water to make the dough. The quantity of the water can be increased or decreased depending upon the softness of the dough preferred (while rolling out parathas). If the dough becomes too soft, more flour can be added. In the same way, if the dough becomes too stiff, add a little bit of water. Also note that after resting, the dough becomes a little softer due to the addition of the onions. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Cover and allow it to rest for at least an hour. Rolling: Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and shape them into balls. Take a ball, flatten it and dust with flour. Roll it into a thin circle of about 5 to 6 inches diameter. You can stop rolling here and can fry it or roll it into a triangular shaped paratha as follows. Smear the rolled circle with oil / ghee and fold into half and again fold it to form a triangle. If needed, dust it again and roll it into a thin triangle. Repeat the rolling with the remaining dough. If you are comfortable, you can do the rolling and frying stuff simultaneously. Or roll some parathas, do the frying and come back again to roll. Frying: Heat a skillet / tava over medium heat. Place a paratha on the skillet and toast it about for a minute and flip it. Add 1/2 tsp oil each around the edges and on the surface of the paratha. Toast the other side too. Flip one more time if required. The parathas need to be toasted uniformly. For a detailed and pictorial description of how to make parathas, look here. Keep the fried parathas covered. Serve them with a subzi / pickle. Ours were served with cauliflower subzi. This goes to Think Spice - Think Carom Seeds hosted by The Singing Chef, Raaga. Finally, happy holidays to everyone. Post a Comment


Madhu said...

nice info on carom seeds..I too use them a lot while cooking, use them while making chaklis and pakodas.
Parathas looks good,I can imagine the flavour and aroma with carom seeds in it. Happy holidays to you too.


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