Monday, 23 February 2015

The Spice Rack: Fennel Seeds

Warm and 'aniseedy', dried seeds of the Fennel herb can come with a brownish or greenish tint. They are larger than cumin seeds and have quite an important role in some of the spice mixes that are used in Kerala (especially, those that are used in meat dishes).

Although, I have never come across any fish curries flavoured with fennel seeds back home, we get a 'Thenga Aracha Meen Curry' (Fish curry in a ground coconut sauce) that has a gravy seasoned with fennel in one of the restaurants here.
Talking about restaurants, sugar coated fennel and anise seeds are very often offered as breath fresheners after meals in restaurants here. I never eat them though, as I'm a bit too apprehensive about the number of strange hands that might previously have partaken of the contents of the same bowl :)

  1. These images have been shot some time before and form the second in the spice series that was begun some time ago. In fact, the post has been ready ever since December. I was frankly too lazy to tidy it up and post. Such is the aftermath of vacations!


  1. So true I too don't put my hand into the restaurant plate.
    Wondering what is going to come up here next with fennel.

    1. Meena, nothing exclusively flavoured with fennel. Just a spice mix :)

  2. Most of the Malabar cookbooks call fennel seeds as aniseed, and I used to wonder what it was. Finally I learnt it. I never liked the taste of it, but now after blogging have learnt to appreciate its flavor, though I would never love to have it just like that. Another case is the name, perunjeerakam and nalleerakam always makes me confused! Hehe... my kids are fans of these jeerakamuttayi at restaurants, thankfully, they keep a spoon in the bowl, so you take some and drop them into your hand. Even better is where some restaurants keep handy little packs to give away to kids, how much my both love that! :) Awesome snaps... do you still use your mobile?

    1. Rafee, I think the names are quite often confused. I have seen lots of recipes calling for 'Aniseed' - I think they mean fennel seeds.

      And really? Yeah, fennel is a tad touch too strong on its own.

      Ahhh, yeah. That 'Nalla Jeerakam' thing drives me crazy. Every time I see it, I'm tempted to ask whether there is a 'Cheetha Jeerakam'! To the best of my knowledge, Nalla Jeerakam is normal Cumin Seeds. Perumjeerakam is Fennel Seeds of course - probably named for its size. And then there is 'Sa Jeerakam' which I see used in some cookery shows. That I guess is Caraway seeds which are more commonly called 'Cake Jeerakam' where I come from :)

      Rafee, they keep a spoon in the bowl here too. But quite a lot of people put their hands in it. Those little packs are the best ones :)

      Thanks much. No, I changed to an advanced P&S last year :) I have stretched my mobile to its utmost and the poor thing now exists in an almost dead state :)

  3. Lovely click...and informative post dear:)

  4. I like the sweetened sweets served in restaurants. Over here its served with a spoon, so that takes care of the hygiene factor.

    1. Nava, they serve it with a spoon everywhere. Some people still grab them with their hands - at least here. In any case, it is much too much shared for my liking - whether it comes with a spoon or not :)


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