Saunf (Fennel Seeds)

Botanical Information

Fennel seeds are the dried seeds of the Foeniculum vulgare plant, a member of the Apiaceae family. It is a hardy, perennial herb native to the Mediterranean but is now grown worldwide. It has feathery leaves, and yellow flowers, producing oval-shaped fruit containing seeds. The seeds are harvested when ripe and then dried for use in cooking and medicine.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 345 kcal

Protein: 15.8 grams

Fat: 14.9 grams

Carbohydrates: 52.3 grams

Fiber: 39.8 grams

Sugars: 0 grams

Calcium: 1196 mg

Iron: 18.5 mg

Magnesium: 385 mg

Phosphorus: 487 mg

Potassium: 1694 mg

Sodium: 88 mg

Zinc: 3.7 mg

Vitamin C: 21 mg

Fennel seeds are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They also contain fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds such as flavonoids and volatile oils. Fennel seeds are low in calories and fat and are often used as a digestive aid due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.

Ancient civilizations all around the world used fennel seeds, also called saunf and mouri. Fennel’s medicinal and culinary uses earned it a high reputation in its native Mediterranean region, where it is said to have first appeared.

Fennel seeds were used by ancient Egyptians for a variety of purposes, including as a digestive aid and to help nursing mothers produce more milk. Fennel was highly regarded for its therapeutic uses by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Fennel was frequently utilised as a natural sweetener and digestive aid in mediaeval Europe. Its supposed enchantment led to its incorporation into all manner of concoctions.

A staple of Indian food and Ayurveda health, fennel seeds were first brought to India by Middle Eastern traders. Fennel seeds, according to Ayurveda, have a cooling impact on the body and are used to cure a variety of health problems, including those related to the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the menstrual cycle.

Once used for medicinal purposes, fennel seeds are now widely consumed for their distinctive flavour and scent. As well as being utilised in food, medicine, and supplements, they are a common component in Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Here are some potential health benefits of consuming fennel seeds:

  • Digestive health: Fennel seeds are known for their ability to promote healthy digestion. They can help relieve bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues due to their high fiber content and natural compounds that stimulate the digestive system.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Fennel seeds contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • Oral health: Chewing on fennel seeds can help freshen your breath and improve oral health. The antimicrobial properties of fennel seeds may also help fight against bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Menstrual cramp relief: Fennel seeds have been traditionally used to alleviate menstrual cramps and other menstrual-related symptoms due to their natural antispasmodic properties.
  • Blood sugar regulation: Some studies suggest that consuming fennel seeds may help regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Immune system support: Fennel seeds are rich in vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients, which can help support the immune system and promote overall health.
  • Look for fennel seeds that are uniform in color, plump, and firm to the touch.
  • Smell the seeds to ensure they have a sweet, licorice-like aroma.
  • Avoid fennel seeds that are discolored, dull, or have a musty or stale smell.
  • Store fennel seeds in an airtight container to protect them from moisture, light, and air. Exposure to these elements can cause the seeds to lose their flavor and aroma.
  • Store the container in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard.
  • Fennel seeds can stay fresh for up to six months when stored properly. After that time, their flavor and aroma may start to deteriorate.
  • To extend the shelf life of fennel seeds, you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer. However, be sure to keep them in an airtight container and allow them to come to room temperature before using them to avoid condensation.

Saunf Recipes


4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chili powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp oil

Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing



  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to splutter, add the potatoes and mix well.
  • Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt, and mix again.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.


1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup pistachios

1/4 cup fennel seeds

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1/4 cup melon seeds

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1/2 tsp saffron strands

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)


  • Soak the almonds, pistachios, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, and melon seeds in water for 4-5 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked mixture to a fine paste.
  • Add the cardamom powder, black pepper powder, and saffron strands to the paste.
  • Heat the milk in a pan and add the ground mixture to it. Stir well.
  • Add sugar and mix again. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
  • Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth to remove any solid particles.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving.

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