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Trachyspermum copticum
Trachyspermum copticum
Did you know that… ?
  1. …ajwain has a taste and smell strongly similar to thyme, with a slight sharp and bitter aftertaste?
  2. … ajwain seeds have a 30% fat content?
  3. …ajwain is an ingredient in spicy Indian nut and legume mixes, bread dough and is often an ingredient in curry?
  4. …ajwain is cultivated not only as a spice, but also for thymol extract, which has bactericidal and antiseptic properties?
  5. …ajwain is the primary ingredient in the Ethiopian spice mix "Berbera", together with cloves, fenugreek, pepper, ginger, coriander and cardamom?
  6. … ajwain is added to legumes primarily to reduce flatulence, which most legumes cause?
  7. … Indian bread, like nán, pakora and paratha acquire a unique flavor from ajwain, highly prized by visitors to this country?
  8. … ajwain as a spice consists of dried seeds, whole or ground, of the plant Trachyspermum ammi?
Ajwain seeds

Spicy brown lentils

250 g brown lentils
2 tablespoons oil
1 chopped onion
1 clove chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon ground ajwain seed
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt

Soak lentils for 1 hour in 450 ml water. Heat oil in a pan, sauté onion until tender, then briefly the garlic. Transfer to pot with lentils, add ajwain, salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender and water has been absorbed (1-1½ hours). Serve hot.


Ajwain was first cultivated for extract, whose principal component, thymol, has bactericidal and antiseptic properties. Ajwain comes from southern India and in the old Orient, its seeds were used as a natural antiseptic and anti-flatulence agent. Lentils are an appropriate legume to cook with ajwain. The main supplier of ajwain is India, but it is also grown in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Egypt. Ajwain is an excellent additive to foods high in starch. In Southeast Asia it is routinely added to bread and unsweetened pastry. Ajwain may be replaced by thyme, but in a much smaller quantity, since ajwain's flavor is much stronger.