Anise seeds, known for their distinct licorice-like flavor and aroma, are widely used in various cuisines around the world. In India, anise seeds are commonly known as “saunf” or “variyali.” Let’s take a closer look at the Hindi name for anise seeds and explore their uses in Indian cuisine and traditional medicine.
The Hindi Name: Saunf or Variyali
In India, anise seeds are primarily referred to as “saunf” or “variyali” in Hindi. The term “saunf” is derived from the Sanskrit word “shatapushpa,” which means “a hundred flowers.” This name reflects the small flowers that bloom on the anise plant, which eventually turn into seeds.
The Hindi name “variyali” is commonly used in the western part of India, particularly in the state of Gujarat. It is used to refer to both the anise seeds and the fresh green leaves of the anise plant, which are used as a garnish in various dishes.
Uses in Indian Cuisine
Anise seeds are widely used in Indian cuisine for their unique flavor and medicinal properties. They are commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes to enhance the taste and aroma. Here are some popular uses of anise seeds in Indian cooking:
- Spice blends: Anise seeds are a key ingredient in various spice blends used in Indian cooking, such as garam masala and panch phoron. These spice blends add depth and complexity to curries, rice dishes, and lentil preparations.
- Sweet dishes: Anise seeds are often used in Indian sweets and desserts. They are added to dishes like kheer (rice pudding), barfi (a type of fudge), and ladoo (sweet balls) to provide a subtle licorice flavor.
- Chai masala: Anise seeds are sometimes included in chai masala, a spice mix used to flavor Indian tea. The addition of anise seeds adds a refreshing and aromatic note to the tea.
- Mouth fresheners: Anise seeds are commonly used in India as a natural mouth freshener. They are often coated in sugar or combined with other seeds and spices to create a refreshing after-meal treat.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
In addition to their culinary uses, anise seeds have long been used in traditional Indian medicine for their potential health benefits. They are believed to have digestive, carminative, and diuretic properties. Here are some traditional medicinal uses of anise seeds in India:
- Relief from digestive issues: Anise seeds are commonly used to aid digestion and relieve digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. They are often consumed after meals to promote digestion.
- Respiratory health: Anise seeds are believed to have expectorant properties that can help relieve cough and congestion. They are often used in herbal remedies for respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma.
- Menstrual health: Anise seeds are known to have estrogen-like properties, which may help regulate menstrual cycles and relieve menstrual discomfort. They are sometimes used in traditional remedies for menstrual issues.
Anise seeds, known as “saunf” or “variyali” in Hindi, are a versatile ingredient used in Indian cuisine for their unique flavor and aroma. They are used in various spice blends, sweet dishes, and even as a natural mouth freshener. Additionally, anise seeds have been used in traditional Indian medicine for their potential health benefits, particularly in aiding digestion, promoting respiratory health, and supporting menstrual health.
Next time you come across anise seeds in a recipe or at a spice store, remember their Hindi name and the various ways they are used in Indian cuisine and traditional medicine.