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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Random Sunday :- Jintan Manis - Is it Fennel or Aniseed???

Now.... when I was blogging about my confinement (here and here), fennel seeds were used in some recipes because fennel is a galactagogue (aids in lactating). I was asked, whether it is jintan manis or jintan kasar in the Malay Language. Or is the jintan manis not fennel or it's aniseed. So many being confused. I myself, although am convinced that fennel is jintan manis, but am no sure what are those on my spice rack.

Ok, to solve the mystery, I planted some Jintan Manis that I took off my spice rack. Why did I plant it?
Simply because Aniseed and Fennel flowers differently. The way you can really find out is to look at the flowers and leaves. See it with out very own eyes.

Remember this picture from My Garden post?

Seed name: aniseed
Chinese name - 茴芹 (Read here for Chinese)

Seed name : Fennel seeds
Chinese name- 小茴香 (Read here for Chinese)

So, after you see my flowers, what do you think Jintan Manis is???

You all may be thinking, woweee.. can plant fennel means can reap the bulbs and cook. Nah! This variety that we have doesn't bulb. I read that only the Florence variety bulbs. Yikes, such an anti climax. But the leaves can be eaten, like the way one uses dill. I've seen some mainland Chinese blogs using this to make omelette, yes fennel frond omelette.

Mystery Solved!

and I reaped a lot of organic fennel seeds from just a few sown.


  1. Good to plant some herbs and spice from the garden.

  2. Photos are very nice. I was working in my garden today too. I don't have fennel but dill is coming out very good. I need to try fennel too. Thanks for the idea.

  3. Haha, i remember when you first posted about this, how it has grown and the way they sprout seeds like that, it looks pretty cool. :) Did they turn brown after that or you dried it out in the sun?

  4. Mel,
    that was for an experiment :p

    thanks to photo editing :p

    I don't have dill here :(
    But they can't be planted together I read, the fennel seeds goes tasteless when they interbreed.

    They turned brown while still on the stalk.
    The seed pictures were taken right after I collected them. I wanted to give them to you all that day, but I found some mealy bugs on some of them, thanks to my ants!

  5. so this is what they look like! Thank you for educating me :)

  6. Never know you can simply plant from the seeds we bought for cooking.... interesting! Anyway, lazy me will just buy from the shop....hehehe

  7. How I wished I had a garden like before!
    I love the colours of the spice plants!

  8. till today, i'm still confused myself between jintan manis and jintan putih. if you never tell this is jintan manis, i probably hv thought this could also be jintan putih.

  9. Hi, i'm browsing thr your past confinement notes and it looks so amazing! Can I request for the confinement lady contact? ;)

    With thanks.
    lil mama

  10. Watched a Taiwan cooking show, the chef stir-fry egg with prawns and fennel, but she said not all people like its taste. I have no idea how it smells like.

  11. mr pineapple man,
    Yeah this is how fennel seeds look like

    Can plant, but the purpose of this was just to determine whether our jintan manis is aniseed or fennel seed

    I planted these in pots, u can too!

    Same here. But then, after a while u'll be able to remember that jintan putih is actually dark and jintan manis is fairer, LOL. Opposite la.

    lil mama,
    email me

    Little Inbox,
    U mean fennel bulbs or fennel fronds?
    Fennel bulbs taste almost like celery, but tougher.
    Fronds.. like dill :)

  12. my fennel dead liao.....the flowers look very pretty...see your fennel make me want to plan again.

  13. Hi I sent an email to u yesterday.

    lil mama

  14. Great post, and so helpful for women wanting to increase their milk supply. One of the reasons for the confusion is that in the Malay language, both fennel and aniseed are called "jintan manis", that's why so many mistakenly think that aniseed is fennel and vice versa, when in fact, anise seed is not used as often as fennel in south east asian cooking. Much easier to just call fennel "jintan kasar" since it is bigger than anise seed or even cumin for that matter.

  15. Anonymous,
    Actually I have never heard of Jintan Kasar, except through my reader.

  16. In Malay it is called Pokok Adas which i have never heard before ;) only when they dried the seeds we call it Jintan Manis.

  17. This is very interesting and full of confusion. What is cumin, fennel and arggg aniseeds??
    Thought cumin is fennel, fennel is cumin.
    Just bought something called jintan manis and planting some. How long must I wait to see the seeds and how will I know it will be cumin or fennel or even aniseseed?

  18. nicermannson,
    jintan manis is fennel. the reason why I did this post, is because I see my friends being misled translating jintan manis as aniseed.
    Cumin is jintan putih, it has a very different look, small and brown, and taste obviously different.
    for more information, you can always google and read up. the differences are distinct.

  19. So in conclusion,
    Fennel = jintan manis / jintan kasar
    Cumin = jintan putih
    Aniseed = ???

  20. Nor,
    Aniseed is not used in our local cuisine, actually.


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