This is what is called dalchini or referred to as a "cinnamon stick" in South Asian cooking:
|A bit thuggish & crude in appearance compared to the cinnamon sticks of the western world.|
It's actually the dried bark of the Cinnamonum cassia tree (also called the Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon tree). Yes, it is from the same tree as 'tej patta' or Indian bay leaf.
|"True cinnamon" from the Cinnamonun verum tree.|
It is not the same as those tightly rolled & thinly layered cinnamon sticks you see in western countries. Those delicate, rolled cinnamon sticks you see in western countries are 'true cinnamon' which comes from the Cinnamonun verum tree (also called Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon).
|A Chinese cassia tree whose dried bark is called "dalchini."|
Cassia bark (or dalchini as it is called in Desi-dom) has a stronger, almost peppery bite compared to its sweeter, subtler, & more aromatic Sri Lankan cousin. Cassia bark/dalchini also stands up to the intense heat of the pressure cooker or kadhai better than the delicate Sri Lankan cinnamon quills. The spicier, peppery notes of cassia bark/dalchini suit savory dishes likes curries & stews better than it's sweeter cousin also.
Personally, I prefer to bake with ground cassia bark/dalchini rather than true cinnamon as I like a spicier punch to my cakes, cinnamon buns, cookies, & quick breads. If you are using cinnamon to enhance the natural sweetness of strawberries, cherries, or fruit pie fillings (as many Scandinavian, Swiss, Ukrainian, & German recipes do) then I'd choose to use the Sri Lankan or true cinnamon. My Swiss friend in Mumbai, Cyn, will attest to this. You can check out Cyn's blog at http://www.homecynhome.com