The term “Charoli” refers to small, almond-flavored dried seeds from a bush known as the Buchanania Ianzan or Almondette Tree. The fruit from which it is derived is cracked open to extract the nuts. It belongs to the “Anacardiaceae” family. The “Chironji” is an evergreen tree.
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Though extensively found in Maharashtra, it has gained widespread publicity because of its wide range of culinary, health and medicinal properties.
The scientific name of the bush, from which Charoli is derived, is known as “Buchanania Ianzan”.
It is also known by other names, such as “Chirongi”, “Charooli”, “Cuddapah almond” and “Chirolo”.
Read on to know about the physical appearance of these seeds.
It is pale in color, usually light brown in color and has dark shades and patches. The shells are hard to crack but the fruit inside is soft.
It is generally flat and round in shape.
The seeds are 1.3 cms long. The trees from where the seeds are taken grow up to 50 feet tall.
The powder derived from crushed Charoli seeds is used as spice. It is usually sweet in taste and therefore used as topping for sweets. The flavor is somewhat like hazelnuts and pistachios.
Where Does Charoli Grow?
The bushes from which the seeds are drawn out are generally grown in North Western Parts of India. It is a native plant of India. It is mainly found in the tribal areas of Maharashtra. It cannot grow in water- logged areas. It grows best in soils that are rich in clay.
Charoli Nutritional Value
Chirolo comprises of the following ingredients which are essential for nutrition.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Amino Acids
- Maleic acid
- Anacardic acid
- Water soluble extractive
Charoli Health Benefits
Charoli offers varied health benefits to people who consume them:
- Powdered Charoli seeds can be mixed with milk to form a facepack which makes the facial skin glow and appear fresh.
- Seeds of this plant increase the formation of semen and increase the amount of blood cells in the body.
- The seeds provide the body with vitality and vigor. In Maharashtra, they are recommended to newlywed couples.
- The seeds are helpful in curing urinary infections and fevers.
- The nuts and seeds are widely used in Ayurveda and Unani medicinal practices. According to Ayurveda, this plant cures and provides relief from a number of health ailments. The seeds, bark, roots, fruits, leaves of the Chironji Tree have rich medicinal properties.
- According to Unani, the juice extracted from the leaf of Chironji trees can be used as a digestive tonic and also blood purifier. It is also an effective aphrodisiac.
- It is also used in Aromatherapy.
- It protects the liver and provides the skin with a youthful radiance and natural glow.
- It also improves eye sight.
- It cures blood disorders and ulcers.
- It is used as a cooling material to counter burning sensation in body.
- It cures bowel disorders.
- The oil of this plant is used to cure Diarrhea and neck gland inflammation.
- The plant is also used to make an ointment which lightens facial blemishes and provides relief from prickly heat, rashes and skin spots.
Uses of Charoli Seeds
The seeds of this plant have various uses:
- They are used as toppings for sweets in India.
- They are compulsorily used to prepare a topping for a mouth watering dessert known as “Shrikhand”.
- They are used as an alternative for almonds.
- The oil extracted from the seeds is used in cooking, as a substitute for Almond oil and at times also for Olive oil.
- It is primarily used as a cooking spice.
- The seeds, when crushed and powdered, are used to prepare thick sauce.
- They are used as a flavoring agent to thicken the gravy in “Kormas” and other dishes.
- The seeds are also used as a sprinkler in soups, salads and meat dishes.
The nuts, seeds and oil of this plant are used in the preparation of various uses. Charoli nuts are mainly used as spices. They can be eaten up to six months and should be kept in an air-tight container. The seeds are used to prepare savory dishes like Kulfi, Kheer and Payasam. The plant is also used in preparing other delicious dishes, such as:
- Hyderabadi Haleem
- Malai kofta
- Lamb pepper with Chironji
- Charoli Mutton
- “Gajar ka Meetha” or Carrot Sweetmeat
- “Chawal ka Meetha” or Sweet Rice
A delicacy known as “Chironji ka barfi”, made from Charoli seeds, is famous in Maharashtra.
Charoli is a highly beneficial natural substance that can benefit the health in a number of ways. Its various parts can be safely consumed and used for enhancing beauty. However, pregnant women are not recommended to consume Charoli despite its various benefits. It may impact their health and affect delivery.
Here are some Images of Charoli.
- by Shourini Banerjee
- March 1st 2012