Spice Up Your Life! 25
(This column brings you information on various spices, fruits and vegetables, along with recipes and home remedies. Readers are cautioned to use remedies with discretion)
The fruit of the herbal plant Ajwain, also known as Bishop’s weed or carom, is what we refer to as a seed. It lends a powerful flavour similar to licorice to Indian cuisine. The presence of thymol in ajwain makes it medicinally beneficial as well.
The benefits of ajwain include:
- Ajwain can kill germs and destroy fungi and, therefore, can be used to treat acne, skin infections, and wounds.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of ajwain allow it to be a soothing agent for psoriasis and to reduce the pain of arthritis, gout and joint pain.
- Ajwain in an antioxidant powerhouse and can fight the cellular damage caused by oxidisation and build up your immunity.
- Common cold, sore throat, and asthma symptoms can be alleviated using ajwain.
- Its antibacterial properties make it an ideal for keeping infections at bay.
- Thymol in the seeds can help lessen the pain of headaches.
- Toothaches can be tackled using the oil of ajwain. It also aids in the promotion of gum health.
- Chewing two pinches of the seeds make an excellent digestive aid, reducing acidity and flatulence.
- Drinking a decoction of ajwain and water assists weight loss because the seeds accelerate metabolism.
- Ajwain water can flush out kidney stones and alleviate pain caused by kidney stones.
Caution: Please consult your doctor if under medication. Use in excess can cause unpleasant reactions such as slow clotting of blood, nausea, skin irritation, etc.
Recipes of the Goa Anglican Centre
These are the recipes of dishes cooked at the Goa Anglican Centre, a UK registered charity which hosts clergy and volunteers from time to time in Goa.
Spicy Pork Curry (serves 5-6)
Ingredients: 1 kg boneless pork, 1 large onion, 3 tsp of Kashmiri chili powder, 3 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of clove powder, 1 tsp of cinnamon powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 1 tsp of pepper powder, 10-12 cloves of garlic (made into a paste), 6-8 tbsp of coconut vinegar, 2 tsp of sugar and salt to taste.
Method: Sauté the coarsely chopped onion in cooking oil until it is translucent and add the garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric, cumin, clove powder, cinnamon powder, and pepper and fry. Add the pork (cut in 1 inch cubes) and stir in the sugar, vinegar and salt. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes or till the meat releases water. Then lower the flame, cooking on low heat for 35-40 minutes. Goes well with pão (Goan bread) or pulao (yellow rice that is cooked in vegetable or meat stock).
Satay Chicken (serves 4)
Ingredients: 1 kg chicken cut in big pieces, 8-10 leaves of lemongrass (only the tender ends and part of the leaves), 1 inch of ginger, juice of 1 lime, ½ tsp of pepper, 5-6 tbsp of chunky peanut butter, 300 ml of coconut milk and salt to taste.
Method: Blend the lemongrass ends, ginger, pepper and lime and marinade the pieces of chicken with this mixture and salt (to taste) for 20 minutes. Fry the chicken for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Place the chicken pieces in an oven dish and mix in coconut milk and peanut butter. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 ° C. Serve with rice.
For headaches: make a paste of dried lemon rind and some water and apply it to your forehead for relief.
For insomnia: ½ tsp of jeera (cumin) powder mashed into the pulp of 1 banana. Eat this 30 minutes before bed for peaceful sleep with natural chemicals.