Related to parsley, and so to coriander and cumin, it’s the seeds of the sweet sort of this Southern European native that are used in Sri Lankan cooking, not the leaves or the bulb. Sometimes called ‘sweet cumin’ (Sinhala maduru)because of the shape of the seed, it has an aniseed flavour, hence it’s sweetness. It is extensively used either on its own (plain or sugar-coated) or with betel leaf as a breath freshener after a meal. It’s used ayurvedically for stomach-ache, constipation, regulating menstruation and increasing breast milk.

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