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- What are Cumin Seeds?
- Cumin seeds, one of the most commonly used spices, are a popular member of the parsley family, used mainly in Indian, North African and Mediterranean cuisines.
- Did you know that the most commonly used desi spice in India has a long videshi history? Native to the gorgeous Nile Valley of Egypt, cumin is also cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean region, and in North Africa, India, China and U.S. Interestingly, the Bible mentions cumin too! Back in the day cumin was so valuable that it was used in place of money to pay tax in the church.
- Look and Taste
- Cumin seeds are oblong in shape and brownish-green in colour. The scent of cumin is strong and heavy, spicy-sweet, with acrid but warm depth. The flavour is rich, slightly bitter and pungent with earthy overtones. Black cumin, a variety of cumin is darker and smaller than regular cumin seed. It has a sweeter smell and a subtle flavour that is somewhere between cumin and caraway.
- Ways to use it in cooking
- The aroma of cumin can be enhanced by dry roasting the seeds before grounding or frying in oil, if the seeds are used whole. Cumin is fundamental to curry powders, panch phoron and sambar powders. It is used in various veggie preparations like beans, cabbage, eggplant, lentils, onions and potatoes. Cumin is also often used to enhance the flavour of various bread and rice dishes.
- Health benefits
- Cumin helps digestion, ease gas, diarrhoea and other stomach disorders
- Research indicates that it may have a role in fighting cancer
- It is a good source of iron
- It is believed to stimulate menstruation
- Cumin can be used to gargle and also treat laryngitis