Carom seeds (more commonly known as ajmo in Gujarati or ajwain in Hindi) are an underrated spice. Personally, it is one of my favorites! The fragrance of ajmo is very similar to thyme and the flavor is a cross between thyme and oregano.
In Gujarati cooking, whole carom seeds are used often. They are added to puri (balloon bread) dough along with red chili powder to make delicious “teekhi puri” a savory, deep fried bread that is delicious on it’s own with a cup of chai or with a variety of shaaks. They are often used in the vaghaar when cooking beans because it is said that carom seeds help combat their gassy effects.
In Punjab, ajwain is added to chai, giving it a distinct flavor that is comforting and warm.
Ajmo originated in India. In traditional Ayurveda, carom seeds are used as a treatment for gas, indigestion, and bloating.