Alternative names: sweet fennel seeds, saunf
Fennel seed is the dried fruit of the fennel plant, which is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. The seeds have a flavour similar to liquorice or anise and a unique ability to hit both sweet and savoury notes at the same time. The culinary history of fennel goes back to Roman times; popular as a commodity with Arab traders it was transported to the Middle East, from where it later spread to India and East Asia.
Very popular in Italy, fennel seeds are used in the making of Italian sausages, sauces, pasta and tomato dishes. They are also used to great effect in spice blends such as Chinese five spice, ras el hanout and panch phoran. In Indian and Asian cooking fennel seeds are almost always roasted, which further brings out their sweet, spicy flavour.
Produce of Egypt