Allspice or ’ Kabab Chini’ is the dried berry of the Jamaican pepper tree, also known as pimento tree. At first glance, one might easily confuse the allspice berry with a peppercorn. Christopher Columbus discovered allspice in the Caribbean while he was seeking pepper. As he had never actually seen real pepper, he thought allspice was it. The name allspice comes from the fact that the flavor tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.
Allspice– Names in different Indian Languages.
Hindi–Kabab Cheene, Bengali – Saada Golmuruch, Gujrati – Kabab cheeni, Punjabi – Kabab cheeni
Urdu – Kabab Cheeni
It is good source of essential oils.
Allspice is available in ground form as well as whole berries. When ground allspice is called for in a recipe, choose whole berries and grind them yourself in a peppermill, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle for the freshest and most intense flavor. Purchase ground allspice in small amounts from a reputable store with fast product turnover.
It matches well with Beef and lamb dishes. In India it is added in ‘ Shahi Garam Masala ‘ which is used for rich non vegetarian dishes.
Technically speaking 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cloves = 1 tsp ground allspice; ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in equal amounts it means All spice work as substitute for the three spices.
Fresh leaves are used where available. They are similar in texture to bay leaves and are thus infused during cooking and then removed before serving.
It is advisable to Store allspice in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and never near a hot stove or vent. As with most spices, ground allspice will begin to lose flavor after six months. The whole berries should be used within one year.
It is a strong flavouring spice so a little bit can do wonder but if added in excess it can spoil the recipe.