Pomegranates have become popular in recent years because of their healthful properties. The superfood is known for being high in vitamins C, B5 and E as well as beta carotene, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid.
In short, they’re supposed to be good for you.
They also taste great, which is why I jumped at the chance to try ground anardana, or ground pomegranate, when I saw it on the shelf at the Himalayan Bazaar, 8466 Fredericksburg Road. The Indian market had three different varieties available. I picked up a jar made by Rani, which was offered at $3 for a 3-ounce jar.
In doing a little research, I discovered that anardana is made from a type of pomegranate that’s considered too sour to eat fresh, so they dry the seeds, which retain a remarkable amount of flavor.
Rani offered the following background on its website: “Anardana comes from the dried seeds of the pomegranate. Native to Southwest Asia, the fruit is both sweet and tangy. In India, the dried seeds are ground down to make a coarse powder used to flavor curries and chutneys. In the Middle East, it is used often to garnish dishes such as hummus, salads and tahini.”
You could use it in any dish that would benefit from a sweet-sour brightness, whether it was in a sauce for chicken or lamb or as an alternative to raisins in baked desserts. Once you start using anardana
I used the tangy ground pomegranate in a simple shrimp stir-fry with a butter-white wine sauce. I also added it to a daikon radish salad with EVOO and lime juice.
Plus, here’s a vegan-friendly recipe from Rani’s website for a easy garbanzo salad that would be ideal for a summer picnic.
1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
½ onion, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 tablespoon ground pomegranate, such as Rani Anardana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl combine garbanzo beans, onion, bell pepper, ground pomegranate, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Toss and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
Makes 4 servings.