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Ajwain, Ajowan or Carom is a little used spice. Ajowan, Trachyspermum ammi L, is a relative of parsley and looks similar to parsley when growing [1]. Ajwain is often mistaken for lovage seeds.

Ajwain seeds resemble celery seeds - small, tear-shaped and light brown. Ajwain seeds taste of thyme because they have a relatively high level of thymol, but also have slightly sharp, peppery notes that are noticeable, together with a lingering, warm aftertaste.

Use ajwain seeds whole as they are really tiny, but at the same time do not overdo them, because they have a really strong flavour for their size.

Ajwain complements the flavours of carbohydrates, especially starchy foods, and vegetables well. Ajwain is great for adding a bit of flavour to savoury baking, e.g. cheese biscuits, or lightly dispersed through bread; you should crush ajwain seeds before using them.

In Indian cuisine, ajwain is used in parathas, puris, bhajias, savoury pastries, spicy potato dishes, pulses and green beans. It is also used to flavour Bombay mix.

Nutritional Data

Energy Value 185 kCal / 780 kJ
Fat n/a
- saturates n/a
- mono-unsaturates n/a
- polyunsaturates n/a
Carbohydrate 16.7
- sugar 2.0
- polyols n/a
- starch n/a
Salt 0.2
Fibre n/a
Protein 17.4

These can be compared to reference intakes, but these have not been shown in the table above, because they are not particularly useful for spices.


  1. Katzer, G. (n.d.) Ajwain, Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages. Retrieved 20 July 2015.

Further Reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN 9780778804932.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465435989.