This article provides an overview of Fennel, what it tastes like, its availability, alternative names, and of course what other ingredients make for great Fennel substitutes.
What is Fennel?
Fennel is a flowering vegetable belonging to the carrot family. It has a hard white bulb root, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the Mediterranean shores, but can now be found in other coastal locations worldwide.
What does Fennel taste like?
Fennel has very mild but complex licorice, mint, and anise flavors that can be enhanced when cooked. It is very popular in French and Italian cooking. If cooked with onions, fennel can become very sweet.
Is Fennel readily available in Supermarkets?
Fennel can be bought readily in both fresh and dried forms. If looking for fresh fennel, it will be in the fruit and veg produce section, if looking for the dried version, it will be with the other herbs and spices.
What are some alternative names for Fennel?
Fennel may also be known as sweet anise, however it is not the same as anise. Although they both can be used to sweeten up desserts.
What is a good substitute for Fennel in recipes?
Luckily, there are a number of great substitutes for Fennel. These include:
- If used raw, celery has a very similar crunchy texture and for taste, anise is very similar.
- If you are looking for a good substitute for fennel seeds, caraway seeds have a similar peppery, licorice flavor.
What cuisines is Fennel used in?
Fennel is a flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has a sweet, licorice-like flavor and is used in various cuisines around the world. Here are some examples of how fennel is used in different cuisines:
Fennel is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. It is used in dishes like sausage and fennel risotto, pasta with fennel and sardines, and fennel salad. It is also used as a seasoning in Italian sausages.
Fennel seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine as a spice and flavoring agent. They are used in dishes like biryani, curry, and masala chai. Fennel is also used in Indian pickles and as a digestive aid.
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Fennel is used in Middle Eastern cuisine for both its flavor and medicinal properties. It is used in dishes like tabbouleh, fattoush, and shawarma. Fennel tea is also a popular drink in the region.
In Chinese cuisine, fennel seeds are used as a spice and flavoring agent in dishes like five-spice powder and hot pot. Fennel is also used in Chinese medicine as a digestive aid.
Fennel is used in French cuisine in dishes like fennel gratin, braised fennel, and fennel soup. It is also used in herbes de Provence, a blend of dried herbs commonly used in French cooking.
Fennel is used in Greek cuisine in dishes like fennel and orange salad, Greek-style meatballs, and tzatziki sauce. It is also used as a flavoring agent in ouzo, a popular Greek liquor.