Ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), also known as bishop's weed, is the seed of a plant native to southern India close to caraway, cumin and dill. Its taste is reminiscent of thyme.
Both the leaves and the seeds like fruit (often mistakenly called seeds) of the plant are consumed by humans.
They have a bitter and pungent taste, with a flavor similar to anise and oregano.
They smell almost exactly like thyme because they also contain thymol, but they are more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as being somewhat bitter and pungent. Even a small number of fruits tend to dominate the flavor of a dish
It is a spice used in India, especially in vegetarian dishes. It can be used especially in puff pastries, bean dishes or Indian pancakes.
The fruits are rarely eaten raw; they are commonly dry-roasted or fried in ghee (clarified butter).
This allows the spice to develop a more subtle and complex aroma.
It is also often part of the mixtures for the frying of spices (tadka). In Asia, it is mainly used in the manufacture of breads and pastries as well as on cooked vegetables
Ajowan is mainly used to treat gastric problems; it is enough for that to chew seeds. This plant can also treat rheumatism and asthma, in the form of poultices. Ajowan is also used as an essential oil in local application to treat various bacterial infections even severe. Its essential oil comes in the form of a mobile liquid, limpid, transparent to brown. Its smell is similar to that of thyme.