Indian name and pronounciation:
Daalchini (in Hindi), pronounced as daal-chee-knee
Appearance, taste and smell:
Daalchini is a warm, cocoa brown (sometimes reddish brown) colored spice which is the inner bark of a group of trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum. It usually found in rolled 'cane', quill or stick-like form. Daalchini is highly aromatic with a warm, sweet fragrance. Ground Daalchini or powdered cinnamon feels warm when placed on the tongue!
Daalchini can be bought from most supermarkets and specialist herb or spice stores. All good Indian shops will stock them. Good, authentic Daalchini will have a sweet, warm taste when placed on the tongue in powder form or chewed in bark form. Look for cocoa brown or warm reddish brown sticks with a smooth surface. Good Daalchini canes/ quills will not be crumbly, give off powder or leave residue on your fingers when handled. Store Daalchini in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight glass container. Most spices retain their potency for longer if stored this way. Do not keep for longer than six months.
Daalchini or Cinnamon is used extensively, in both quill/ stick form and powdered form, in Indian cooking. It is often dry roasted before use as this is thought to release even more flavor from it. Daalchini is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes ranging from curries and spice mixes to drinks and desserts. It is a major ingredient in the famous Garam Masala powder. It is also powdered and used in Masala Chai.
- Cinnamon tea is thought to be a great stress reliever and used extensively in Ayurvedic treatments.
- Cinnamon is used in cures for respiratory ailments and for the relief of cold symptoms and to soothe coughs.
- Daalchini is high in antioxidants and also has anti-bacterial properties.
- There is plenty interesting research that points to the use of Daalchini as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.
- The smoke from burning cinnamon quills/ sticks will get rid of mosquitoes!