General Discussion 16

Ajwain/Carom in Chinese food?

Emmmily | Jul 29, 2009 07:45 AM

Recently I was having dinner at Great NY Noodletown (in Manhattan Chinatown), and since my meal was kind of bland I spooned some of their hot chili oil (the kind with lots of sediment in it, almost a paste) over my dish. In addition to than the usual flavors of hot pepper and maybe a little garlic, there was another spice in there that I couldn't quite place but that reminded me strongly of Indian food. The next day - and this must have been my subconscious trying to tell me something - I was eating my favorite snack of matzoh crackers with cream cheese, salt, and ajwain seeds when I realized that this was the flavor I'd noticed at Noodletown - ajwain. I was surprised, since I'd never heard of ajwain seeds being used outside of Indian cooking (and, according to Wikipedia, some parts of the Middle East and Northeast Africa.) Has anyone ever heard of it in Chinese food? For the record, the chili sauce was delicious.

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