As soon as the winter moods set in, the houses are filled with the sweet aroma of pies, cookies, puddings and every other dessert on earth. What blesses these dishes with its gracious presence is none other than Cloves or Laung, which are a much celebrated condiment in the culinary world.
That sweetness, bitterness, astringency and a considerable amount of heat present in the dishes, surely make cloves stand out from the rest of the spices used in baking or cooking.
Traditional Indian cooking methods employ laung in almost all the dishes, especially in the super magical garam masala concoction. A favored item for autumn and winter breaks, cloves have invariably gained popularity and favor among culinary cultures across the globe.
A Walk Through History!
Coming from the French word Coul, meaning nail, cloves have an amazing and elaborate history, being mentioned in the Oriental Literature in the Han period in China. However, it is believed that cloves have their origin from Madagascar.
By the 8th century, this spice had become a major ingredient in European countries for preserving, garnishing and flavoring. At a certain point of time, the Dutch had established their monopoly over cloves. However, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the French started smuggling the spice thus breaking the Dutch monopoly.
Today, cloves are grown in Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania and Sri Lanka, with Indonesia being the world’s largest producer of this condiment.
A Look At Cloves !
Bright and reddish-brown in color, cloves are an important ingredient in Sri Lankan and Indian cuisines. This humble spice always finds its presence in garam masala, biryanis, meat and pickles.
They possess a strong, aromatic flavor that is enough to ratchet up any dish and fulfill weekend cravings!
The Health Benefits!
Apart from being blessed with a huge amount of culinary uses, cloves have immensely impressive health benefits that need to be duly considered to lead a healthy and joyous life.
Well, here are a few merits of this wonderous spice:-
- Studies have shown that cloves contain a certain element in it that fights against diabetes. In other words, with their regular consumption, blood sugar levels can be kept in check.
- It has been found that laung can fight off problems like asthma, cold, cough and bronchitis. Even in general infections like sore throat, they work instantly and efficiently.
- One of the common problems that people of all age groups are facing these days due to multiple reasons is headache. Even when we have nothing to do, we end up thinking of so many things that we get a headache. However, this can be solved if one inhales some crushed cloves, tied in a handkerchief and instantly all those bad headaches are gonna go.
- We all love our skin. Isn’t it? Well , cloves can help you take care of your skin as it kills bad bacteria and inflammation. It also helps reduce acne, one of the most common skin problems as it has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Indeed, it is explicitly evident that cloves are beneficial for us in many ways and have a wide array of health boons that needs to be intelligently reaped!
Cloves And Savory Recipes !
Food and cooking is a way of life in India. Every dish and cuisine make up days a bit more brighter and joyous and grants a break from never-ending, hectic schedules. What adds up more to all these events is laung that pumps up all the dishes at hand.
Here are certain cuisines that you can try your hands on, with cloves in it and bring in a whole new taste for your palette.
- Chicken Curry
Love chicken curry? Well, you can now enhance their taste all the more with super aromatic cloves. Blended with spice mix or garam masala, cloves release a strong flavor that makes the dish perfect.
- Apple Pie
A perfect dish for christmas, apple pie is one such delectable dish that is filled with ground cloves. If you do not like cinnamon, then this is the perfect dessert for you and for everyone who has it.
- Butter Cookies
Butter cookies with clove sugar is an enriching dish which should be tried at least once in every kitchen and homes. Butter, hazelnuts, eggs and cloves make such a good combination that you will not be able to keep your hands off from this yummylicious cookie.
- Masala Chai
A special variation of tea, masala chai is something that you can make almost everyday to have a refreshing mind throughout the day. What enhances its taste is the dried clove along with other condiments and spices.
From curries to dessert, cloves are making their appearance almost everywhere, and for good reason. With its beautiful fragrance and its appealing personality, they have come a long way since their inception amongst mankind.
The Culmination !
It is both the culinary and health benefits that have made cloves one of the most prized spices in almost all the kitchens across the world. With an exotic flavor and appealing aroma, it has come to enjoy a special place in different cuisines and dishes, no matter the culture.
Truly, this eminent spice with its bold character has invaded our taste buds that are unlikely to be replaced by the competitors of its type!