Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: Ajwain aur Badam Wala Gur (Jaggery & Carom Seeds Coated Almonds)


With the advent of cold weather, it is the season for sweets, nits and wonderful aromas like this recipe which can fill any dining table for the Thanksgiving feast.  Below is a reprint of Mama’s Ajwain aur Badam Wala Gur recipe, which is a favorite snack in winter months. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions.

With the bitter cold weather comes the need for foods that can keep you warm, provide nourishment and give a quick boost of energy. In my ancestral town of Lyallpur in Pre-Partitioned India and the rest of the Punjab, Multan and Northwest Frontier areas, the winter cold fronts would come off the Hindu Khush mountains and the wind would go right through your clothes. We would huddle around clay coal pots or inginthis and warm our hands while milky tea would boil and the vegetables for the day would be cooked.

In the cold winter mornings when everyone was getting ready for work or late in the evenings when it was dark, just before bedtime, we would often make the ajwain aur badam wala gur (jaggery and carom seeds coated almonds) over the ingithi and eat it after dinner or later with a tall brass glass of hot milk to give us warmth. It is especially a good folk remedy for colds and the flu. People in the Punjab still eat it for its medicinal value, although it has also become available in the markets as a sweet snack during the cold months.

Ajwain is a uniquely ancient Indian spice that is often used for medicinal purposes to cure stomach aches or indigestion. The ajwain seed smells almost like thyme but is more aromatic, slightly bitter and stronger in taste and adds a subtle aroma to Indian cuisine, and is an ingredient in chaunk, a mixture of spices used to flavor daals (lentils).

Badam (almonds) are also used in many Indian religious ceremonies and figure hugely in Indian cuisine. They are a rich source of vitamin E, high quality protein and amino acids, as well as a variety of oils and can help lower LDL cholesterol.

Gur (jiggery) is an uncentrifuged concentrated sugar made from cane juice, without separation of the molasses. It is usually brown in color and is sold in cone shaped blocks. In India, gur – like almonds – is often used in many Hindu religious ceremonies and a small piece is often eaten raw as a benediction before starting any good work or important new venture or when good news is shared. In folk medicine, gur is considered hot and causes sweating, which allows the body to cool down in the high summer heat.

This snack is similar to honey roasted pecans and is quickly devoured. But watch out for calories!


• 1 cup gur (rock jaggery)
• 1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
• 1 tsp saund (ginger powder)
• 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
• ½ cup badam (almonds). If desired, add more almonds


1.  Wrap the gur with a soft cloth and then, with a small hammer or rolling pin, break it down into smaller pieces. Similarly, also break the almonds down into smaller pieces.
2. Pour the ghee Into a small kadai, frying pan or wok and warm it up over medium heat.
3. Add the almond pieces and roast them for less than a minute till they turn slightly brown.
4. Add the ajwain and the ginger powder and stir. This will send out a nice aroma that fills up the kitchen!
5. Throw in the broken gur pieces, stir the mixture continuously till the gur is melted but be careful not to burn it.
6. Turn off the heat, keep stirring the mixture and let it cool down before eating. Be careful not to eat right away as it may burn your mouth. Serve in a bowl with a cup of hot tea.



One of the most common complaints many homeowners have is that they cannot remove soap scum from newly installed shower doors or other hard water stains from tile or toilet bowls or from the water dispenser area on the refrigerator. Many have tried expensive cleansers and scrubbing with steel wool or even scrapping them off, which damages the surfaces and only makes it more vulnerable to more frequent stains.

I came across a very simple and inexpensive remedy on which I am passing along. Mix one cup of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (it has to be blue) into a 32 oz spray bottle, and fill the rest with common white vinegar. Place the top on and then shake well. Spray the affected area and wait 30-minutes or overnight. The deposits will break down and become soft. Simply scrub gently with a sponge and rinse off. Repeat once a week to keep the area clean.


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Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi vegetarian recipes for future generations.