Cassia bark, a versatile spice with a comforting flavour, is highly valued and widely used in various cuisines. It is particularly loved for its use in spice blends, baked goods, and warming beverages.
What is cassia bark?
Cassia, also known as cassia bark, is a spice derived from the Cinnamomum cassia tree. It has a distinct flavour and aroma, closely related to true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or Ceylon cinnamon).
It is also known by other names, such as “cassia cinnamon” and "Chinese cinnamon".
Appearance and Flavour
The bark of the cassia tree is dark reddish-brown and has rolled-up, thick layers with a rough texture.
The taste is both strong and sweet, with a hint of spiciness, accompanied by a warm and woody scent.
It can be used as a whole bark or in powdered form. It is a common ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes.
A few Indian dishes that use cassia are curries such as paneer makhani, capsicum masala, kadai paneer, black eyed peas curry, rice dishes such as vegetable biryani, peas pulao, vegetable pulao, pudina pulao, vegetable masala rice.
Cassia vs Cinnamon
Cassia is often substituted for true cinnamon due to its lower cost. The flavours are similar, but not exactly the same.
True cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon, is famous for its delicate and sweet flavour, in contrast to cassia, which has a more robust and slightly spicier taste.
Cassia bark has a thicker and coarser texture than the thin and fragile layers of true cinnamon.
Yes, cassia can be used as an alternative to cinnamon. In many recipes, cassia can be used interchangeably with cinnamon, especially in baked goods, spice blends, and savoury dishes where the flavor intensity is not as noticeable.
Cassia has a stronger, spicier, and slightly sweeter flavor than cinnamon. When substituting cassia for cinnamon, consider using slightly smaller quantities due to its more pronounced flavour.
Ground cassia is commonly used in baking, especially in recipes like cinnamon rolls, snickerdoodles, and mini apple turnover. It can also be used in turmeric ginger cinnamon tea, cinnamon dolce syrup and apple oatmeal breakfast smoothie instead of cinnamon.
Cassia is often called “dalchini” in some parts of India. It is referred to as “dalchini” because of its long, rolled, and quill-like appearance, which can resemble the shape of a lentil or bean.
Due to its Chinese origins and widespread cultivation in the country, cassia is commonly known as "Chinese cinnamon.
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