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Clove Powder - කරාබු නැටි

Clove Powder - කරාබු නැටි

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Thought to have originated in Indonesia’s Maluku islands. Its arrival in Sri Lanka is uncertain, but most likely, it was either with Arab traders or the Colonial rulers.


Both sweet and spicy, it has a rough, woody texture that is overpowering, even after cooking. Still, Ceylon cloves are relatively milder.


They have a long-history with oral hygiene; they inhibit growth of oral pathogens and are especially useful for treating gum diseases. Their pain killing properties were used for toothaches. Extracts from cloves behave similarly to insulin and help control blood sugar, and is recommended for people with diabetes. They also aid digestion and are used to treat indigestion, flatulence, gastric irritability and other digestive complications. Its anti-inflammatory properties was used for acne, skin burns, and irritations. 


Cloves are actually dried flower buds, picked before they bloom. The name comes from the French word, “clou,” meaning nail. In Sinhalese, it is called “karambu nati”; its direct translation means earring stem. Ceylon clove’s essential oil is made up of 72-90% of eugenol, higher than other varieties. Its anti-carcinogenic properties are of great interest. For example, a study published in the 2006 Oxford Journal, “Carcinogenics” showed the usefulness of cloves in controlling lung cancer in its early stages. 


Whole cloves retain their favor longer (about a year) compared to ground cloves (six months). They can be easily ground using a coffee grinder or blender. One way to test for freshness is to push your fingernail into the cloves’ head. A fresh clove will release some of its fragrant oils. A fresh clove will also float vertically in water. Stale ones will float horizontally or sink. Cloves have an intense favor, so use with discretion.They are used to favor meats, stews, enhance the favor of rice and rich sauces. An essential in curry powders, they combine well with other spices like cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.