Cassia info Cooking Tips
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Cassia info Tips and Information|
Cassia info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
The indian name dalchini comes from the Arabian term daralchini meaning wood of China as one of the most ancient and largest producers of the spice was China. However cassia is native to north east India and Burma. Often confused with cinnamon because of its appearance and name (cinnamon in Hindi is dalchini) the two are interchangeable in certain dishes. Cassia is used widely around the indian subcontinent. There are several varieties of cassia all fairly similar but the Chinese is considered the best.
How it grows
Cassia comes from a tropical tree of the laurel family that grows to a height of 3m. It bears pointed glossy leaves and tiny yellow flowers. The flowers give way to a small fruit called buds. The bark of the tree which comprises the spice is layered dark and rough on the outside and smooth and lighter on the inside. The harvesting is done in the monsoon when the bark is easy to prise off. The outer roughness is scraped off and discarded and the bark is dried into large curls called quills. It is cultivated in China Burma Indonesia Central America and India.
Appearance and taste
Cassia bark is brown and rough on the outside and light and smooth on the inside. It is much harder and coarser than cinnamon. The buds are small and round and are sold dried with the stalk attached. The smell is similar to cinnamon but is less pronounced. The taste is woody and bitter sweet.
Buying and storing
Cassia is available as small pieces or as a powder. If you need cassia powder buy it as you will ruin the blade of your grinder if you try to grind the bark at home. Buy cassia buds that are unbroken and tancoloured with a dark stalk. Look for good fragrant cassia and store in an airtight jar to preserve its flavour. In China some people tie the bark and buds in muslin cloth for prolonged storage.
Medicinal and other uses
Cassia is used to treat colic and diarrhoea and is said to relieve flatulence. Added to spicy potpourri blends the oil available in aromatherapy shops is used in perfumes and cosmetics. The wood of the tree is sometimes polished and used to make furniture.
In India cassia is used exactly like cinnamon in curries rice and vegetables. It is not added to sweets because of its astringency. The Chinese use it in their blend of fivespice powder. Cassia buds are used in cooking as well as in puan a betel leaf filled with nuts seeds and spices and eaten after a rich meal to freshen the breath. A single bud often fastens the leaf envelope to hold in the contents.
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