Ajwain seeds are used as a spice. The grayish-green seeds are striped and curved (similar to cumin or caraway seeds in appearance), often with a fine silk stalk attached. They are usually sold whole. The seeds are often chewed on their own for medicinal value, tasting bitingly hot and bitter.
Ajwain seed is commonly used as a spice in African cuisine, lending a flavor that is savory and somewhat bitter.
The seeds add balance to sweet soups and stews and are said to lessen the gaseous effects of beans.
Ajwain goes well with chicken, fish, legumes, and in curries, and may be combined with turmeric, paprika, cumin, fennel, and coriander.
Ajwain seeds are associated with Ayurvedic tradition and are used as a digestive aid as well as for minor stomach complaints.