Plant name: Syzygium aromaticum / Eugenia caryophyllata
Indian name: Laung
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they have an extremely strong flavour, they are used sparingly. The spice is used throughout Europe and Asia and is smoked in a type of cigarettes locally known as kretek in Indonesia. Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture.
Cloves have historically been used in Chinese cusine, Indian cuisine as well as in Mexican cuisine, where it is often paired together with cumin and canela (cinnamon). In the north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost every sauce or side dish made, mostly ground up along with other spices. They are also a key ingredient in tea along with green cardamoms. In south Indian cuisine, it finds extensive use in the dish known as biryani (similar to the pilaf, but with the addition of local spice taste), and is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavour of the rice.