Fennel (saunf)

Fennel (saunf) is a greenish-brown, small oval seed from a plant in the parsley family. It has a sweet and aniseed  flavor.  Used sparingly, it gives warmth and sweetness to curries. The seeds combine well with peanuts and the zest of citrus fruit. Roasted fennel seeds are chewed to freshen the breath after the meal. They have digestive properties.

Fennel– Names in different Indian Languages.

Hindi–  Saunf , Bengal –  Mouri, Gujrati – Variyali , Punjabi –  Sounf

Tamil -     Sombu,  Urdu –    Sounf

Nutritional Information

Fennel is used as a carminative Agent (gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent).

Culinary Uses

Many cultures in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East use fennel seed in their cookery. Fennel is one of the most important spices in Kashmiri Pandit and Gujarati cooking. It is an essential ingredient of the Assamese / Bengali /Oriya spice mixture panch phoron  [and in Chinese five-spice powders.

It can be used  at the starting of cooking, that is to flavor the oil or it can be grounded and used as a curry paste along with other ingredients. It it sometimes roasted with fenugreek  and used in stuffed vegetables.

In many parts of India and Pakistan, roasted fennel seeds are consumed as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener. Fennel leaves are used as leafy green vegetables either by themselves or mixed with other vegetables, cooked to be served and consumed as part of a meal, in some parts of India


Seeds can be used whole or ground in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Store away from light in airtight containers.


Since it adds both flavor and taste it is used in proportion to other spice since it can subside their flavors.