cumin seeds

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Also Known as

Comino, Jeera , Zeera, Seeragam


Cumin seeds belong to the parsley and dill family and resemble caraway seeds, though they are different in flavour from them. Oblong shaped, these pale or dark brownish seeds are a very popular spice in the world and are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma.It is an aromatic spice with bitter and warm flavor. This ancient spice is popular in Indian , Mexican, North African, Middle Eastern, and western Chinese cuisines. Cumin is one of the most typical spices for India and is fried or roasted before usage.

Cumin seeds powder
Cumin seeds powder

To make cumin seeds powder, dry roast the cumin seeds in a hot non stick pan till it releases aroma. Cool down completely and grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, use a mortar pestle to do the same. Always store in an dry, air-tight container. Cumin powder is widely used in preparing curry powders. Use it to make chhas (buttermilk), temper kadhi, flavour salads, subzis etc.
Roasted and crushed cumin seeds
Dry roast the cumin seeds in a hot non stick pan till it releases aroma. Cool down slightly, place them in a clean dry plastic sheet and crush the seeds using rolling pin into a coarse powder. Always store in an dry, air-tight container. Roasted and crushed cumin seeds are used as seasoning and also added to buttermilk, salads, raitas etc.

How to select

Whole cumin seeds are widely available in super markets , local spice markets and ethnic markets. Always select organically grown dried cumin seeds. Ensure that the seeds are not broken and are in well packaged conditions.

Culinary Uses

· Cumin can be used to season many dishes, either ground or as whole seeds, as it draws out their natural flavour. It is used as a whole, and are fried or toasted before use.
· Cumin is widely used to flavor stews, soups, meats and vegetables
· Cumin is widely used to prepare Jeera rice by roasting cumin seeds in butter, frying rice in it and cooking it with water .
· Dal is staple diet of Indian cuisine. Tempering or Tadka is given to Dal with cumin, giving it warm flavour.
· Many other legumes are normally tempered by cumin fried in butter to add more flavour to the dish.
· Cumin seeds are part of Bengali spice mixture panch phoron, made of nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and cumin. This Bengali 5 spice mix is used to prepare dishes like Potato curry, Pan roasted potatoes, Salmon Kalia, spinach and many other.
· Cumin is used for tempering in almost all meat dishes, especially Northern Indian tandoori dishes.
· Cumin when toasted with coriander gives out distinctive aroma and is widely used In South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. Along with roasted and ground black pepper, cumin seeds are used in flavouring rasams.
· Indian cumin finds worldwide use in foods, beverages, liquors, medicines, toiletries and perfumery.
· Cumin is extensively used spice in fish dishes, grills and stews of Mughlai cuisine and also in couscous - semolina steamed over meat and vegetables, the national dish of Morocco.
· Cumin used in some Dutch cheeses like Leyden cheese, and in traditional breads from France.
· Cumin added with caraway flavours Kummel, the famous German liquer.
· Roasted cumin seeds powder is added to buttermilk to aid digestion and enhance flavour.

How to store:

Cumin seeds and cumin seeds powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cumin will keep fresh for about six months, while the whole seeds will stay fresh for about one year.

Health Benefits

· It aids in increasing lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.
· Cumin stimulates the appetite.
· Cumin can help boost the Liver's ability to detoxify the body.
· It may help relieve symptoms of cold due to its antiseptic properties.
· Cumin can help increase the heat in the body thus making metabolism more efficient.
· Cumin paste is used to treat boils.
· It is used as a stimulant and an antispasmodic and is also said to relieve nausea and diarrhea and to treat morning sickness.

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