Fennel seeds are a highly aromatic and flavourful herb, derived from a shrub. The seeds are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour. They taste somewhat similar to aniseed.
It is an essential ingredient in the Bengali five-spice mix (panch phoron), which is used to flavour vegetable dishes and curries. Fennel seeds are often served at the end of a meal as an aid to digestion and as a breath freshener.
Fennel seeds are available from supermarkets, Indian grocers or specialist spice merchants.