Bishops Weed (Ajwain)

Bishop’s weeds

Ajwain or Bishops Weed is a native plant from India and other Countries from the eastern part of our world. It is used in Indian Curries primarily for its strong taste and is used in curries like Chickpea Curry and other dishes that are difficult to digest. Its is widely belived in India that Ajwain helps in digestion. It has a strong Peppery and carraway bitter after taste. Ajwain is not very common in our days; its usage is almost confined to Central Asia and Northern India, particularly the North West (Punjab, Gujarat). Ajwain also enjoys some popularity in the Arabic world and is found in berbere, a spice mixture of Ethiopia which both shows Indian and Arabic heritage (see long pepper).

The strong aroma is enhanced by roasting or frying and goes well with potatoes or fish. Legumes (lentils, beans) are, however, the most important field of application; in India, where these vegetables are popular since they provide a source of protein to the many vegetarians, they are commonly flavoured with a perfumed butter frequently containing ajwain. This seemingly simple preparation is much more sophisticated than sheer heat treatment, since most aroma compounds in spices are lipophilic and dissolve much better in fat than in water. Thus, frying in butter not only enhances the fragrance because of the high temperature, but also extracts the flavour to the fat, whence it can be dispersed throughout the food efficiently.

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