Shnem Seeds

 Fresh stock of these seeds known in my mother tongue as shnem are now available in the markets. They look like  mustard seeds except that the shade is a wee bit lighter. I don’t know what these are called in English. Like all oil seeds they release a wonderful nutty flavour when toasted. We usually have them as a chutney by toasting and grinding them. The picture above shows the seeds, a cucumber salad, the ground seeds in the flower-shaped bowl, bird’s eye chilli and garlic in mustard oil, green chillies, and chives from one of my pots.

This is a simple salad made with cucumber, almost ripe chillies, de-seeded and added just to create a contrast in colour. The oil that I added here is from the bottle of chilli pickle, just a few drops to add the right amount of heat and garnished with toasted shnem seeds. For those who love chillies, this pickle is a must in most meals. Whenever some oil is used, a bit more is poured in, the bottle is allowed to bask in the hot sun. Sometimes replenishment doesn’t come with extra hard work!

The toasted and ground seeds can also be added to salads. We also love mixing it with diced onions, roasted and chopped green chillies, and herbs like coriander or serrated coriander. Onion and garlic leaves also go really well with this chutney.

Another way of having it is by adding to a Dimasa dish called mudru. It’s a combination of two or more vegetables like beans, leafy greens, and bottle gourd seasoned with chillies, garlic, and salt. The dish is cooked with very little water. Just before the pan is taken off the flame, toasted and ground shnem or sesame seeds are added to the dish.

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