Fresh fennel seeds


Yesterday I unexpectedly found myself in a state of euphoria in front of a twinkly eyed but toothless old woman.

She owns a small fruit cart in Breach Candy, an upmarket residential area in the South of Bombay, on which were stacked a gravity-defying pyramid of pomegranates, melons and apples. And right there, quietly and daintily scenting the air was this gorgeous bunch of fresh fennel seeds which I bought for 20 rupees (20p).

fennel bunch photo

I have never ever seen the seeds fresh before. It was slightly mind blowing.

They perch in conversational heads on top of stalks, around 40 to each and are like amplified, high octane versions of their dried seed counterparts which you can buy in the supermarkets.

More aniseedy, more liquoricy, sweeter and softer too making them delicious to munch on (Indians tend to for fresh breath) given that they’ve not developed hard husks from having dried out. And their fragrance is heady, lingering on everything, from fingers, to bag and even outwitting the fridge.

fennel up close

This morning, I’m using some to make tea with. You only need a teaspoon, bashed up and steeped in off-the-boil water for three minutes to make a delicate and soothing tea, which helps aid digestion and makes you feel fresh and clean again.

After a magnificent but rich dish of 12 hour simmered paya (goats trotters) last night for dinner, this tea is absolutely perfect this morning. More about those goats trotters later…

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