Other Names: carom seeds, bishop’s weed, Ajave Seeds, Ajvain, Ethiopian Cumin
The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour. Ajwain is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state ajwain comes from the lovage plant.
Raw ajwain smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish.
Ajwain is almost never used raw, but either dry-roasted or fried in ghee or oil. This develops a much more subtle and complex aroma, somewhat similar to caraway but “brighter”. Among other things, it is used for making a type of parantha, called ajwain ka parantha.