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Charoli are the seeds of a Buchanania lanzan or almondette tree, which is native to India, Malaysia, and other parts of Asia. They usually resemble small beans or peas. These seeds are often crushed to create a powder that is then used as a flavoring or spice in many authentic Indian dishes. It might also be used in traditional systems of natural medicine that are normally practiced in these parts of the world.
The almondette tree usually grows in tropical climates that have a very rainy or monsoon period in the spring. They can sometimes grow to a height of around 49 feet (15 m) in height. The plant typically has large round or oval-shaped leaves that are commonly light green with splotches of brown or yellow. This tree occasionally has long white flowers that eventually produce the charoli.
Charoli seeds are normally around 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) long. They are mostly round in shape, and can sometimes be flat on one side. These nuts are usually medium or light brown in color, but are also occasionally black on the outside. They are typically contained inside a shell that is very hard and difficult to crack, however, the fruit inside is usually very soft and tender.
The powder created from crushing charoli is often used as a spice. The taste of this powder is considered by many to be rather sweet and similar to the flavor of nutmeg. For this reason, it is often used in flavoring desserts or piyush, a drink that is like eggnog.
In addition to being used as a spice, these nuts are occasionally used to thicken sauces and stews. They might also be used to flavor meat dishes. Using charoli in preparing these kinds of dishes can result in them having a faintly sweet flavor.
Unani and Ayurveda are two systems of natural medicine commonly practiced in Asian countries. Both of these systems have specific uses for charoli. In the Ayurvedic system, it is sometimes used to treat ulcers, reduce fever, and for blood disorders. In the Unani practice of medicine, this seed can be used to cure digestive disorders, to force vomiting, release mucous, and to purify and cleanse the blood. Practitioners of both of these disciplines usually agree that these nuts are an aphrodisiac.
Charoli is normally dried before being ground into a pulp. This means it is easily exported to areas where the almondette tree does not normally grow. People interested in preparing Indian cuisine or studying natural cures might want to ask their local grocer to consider stocking this item.