Cloves are renowned for providing their uniquely warm, sweet and aromatic taste to the wide range of dishes that they are used in. Cloves can easily overpower a dish, particularly when ground, so only a few need be used.
Cloves are best bought whole as flavour quickly deteriorates when powdered. The word 'clove' is from the Latin word for nail, 'clavus' which they resemble in appearance. Cloves are often used to enhance the flavour of meats, curries, and meat marinades. They are used whole in several curries and also fried with other whole spices like peppercorns, cardamom and cinnamon as a garnish in biriyani and pulao.
In India they make an appearance in many sweets, notably the boondi ladoo. Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. They are also a good source of magnesium and calcium. The oil in cloves has a numbing effect on mouth tissues and is often used to provide relief from toothaches.