cumin seeds
Last Updated : Apr 10,2024

What is Cumin Seeds? Glossary, Uses + Recipes with Cumin Seeds
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Also Known as
Comino, Jeera , Zeera, Seeragam

What is Cumin Seeds, Jeera?

Jeera or cumin seed is an ancient Indian spice, which has been used since the Vedic times. Ayurveda prescribes jeera as a remedy for several health problems. So wise were our grannies that they decided to add it to their spice box and use it in everyday cooking, to ensure its sustained health benefits to the family.

In Tamil, jeera is referred to as jeeragam or seeragam. In that ancient language, “Seer Agam” means inner wellness, and the wise say that is probably why the spice was named so!

From digestion to weight loss and detox, cumin seed has a battery of benefits to its credit. And fortunately for all food lovers, it also has a fabulous taste and aroma, and can be put to good use in the Indian kitchen.

The oblong, brown-coloured cumin seed is one of the most popular spices in the world, thanks to its distinctive aroma, and warmly bitter flavour. It can be used raw, but is generally roasted to enhance the flavour and aroma, and sometimes also powdered before use.
This ancient spice is popular in the cuisines of India, Mexico, North Africa, Western China and the Middle East.

Cumin seeds powder
Dry roast the cumin seeds till you notice a strong aroma. Cool down completely and grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, use a mortar pestle to do the same. Always store the powder in a dry and air-tight container. Cumin powder is widely used in preparing curry powders. It is also used to make chhaas (buttermilk), kadhi, salads and subzis.
Roasted and crushed cumin seeds
Dry roast the cumin seeds till they release a strong aroma. Cool down slightly, place in a clean dry plastic sheet and crush the seeds using a rolling pin into a coarse powder. Always store the powder in a dry, air-tight container. Roasted and crushed cumin seeds may be used as a seasoning for buttermilk, salads, raitas, soups, etc.

How to select cumin seeds, jeera
• Whole cumin seeds are easily available in the market, in packaged form and in bulk bins.
• Always select organically grown dried cumin seeds.
• Ensure that the seeds are not broken, and have a fresh and crisp texture.
• If buying packaged, check the date of packing to choose a fresh lot.
• If buying from bulk bins, make sure it was stored covered to avoid contamination and loss of aroma.

14 Ways to use cumin seeds , jeera

1. In whole or ground form, cumin is a preferred seasoning as it brings out the natural flavour of foods.

2. Whole cumin can be toasted or fried before use to enhance the flavour.

3. Cumin is widely used to flavour stews, soups and vegetables.

4. They are also used to perk up the flavor of baked goodies like Onion and Jeera Buns, Jeera Biscuit, Palak Jeera Nimki .

5. It is an indispensable ingredient in the famous Jeera Rice. To prepare this simple dish, heat some oil and ghee, roast the cumin seeds, add cooked rice and fry for some time, add the coriander and butter and it’s done.

6. Dal is tempered with cumin seeds to give it a warm and comforting flavour.

7. Cumin is commonly used to temper many other legume and tandoori preparations, to enhance the flavour and aroma. Jeera Aloo, a simple Punjabi subzi with a dash of lemon and green chilli paste tastes amazing with puri or roti.

8. Cumin seeds are a part of the Bengali spice mixture Panch Phoron, made of nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and cumin. This Bengali five-spice mix is used to prepare dishes like potato curry, pan-roasted potatoes, spinach, and many others.

9. A combination of roasted and crushed cumin and coriander seeds has a distinct flavour that is used often in Indian and Sri Lankan preparations. Learn How To Make Coriander Cumin Seeds Powder from our website.

10. Together with black peppercorns and coriander seeds, cumin is used to prepare the popular south Indian Rasam. Jeera- Pepper Rasam is a homemade concoction for seasonal cold and cough.

11. Cumin used in some Dutch cheeses like Leyden cheese, and in traditional breads from France.

12. Cumin added with caraway flavours Kummel, the famous German liquor.

13. Roasted cumin seeds powder is added to buttermilk to aid digestion and enhance flavour. It is also an important ingredient of the popular Chaat masala.

14. The flavor of refreshing beverages like lemony jaljeera, minty jaljeera are enhanced with the addition of cumin seeds powder.

How to store cumin seeds, jeera:
• Cumin seeds and cumin seeds powder should be kept in tightly-sealed glass containers 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 of cumin seeds, jeera
• It aids in increasing lactation.
• As it reduces nausea in pregnancy, it can be a good solution for morning sickness.
• Cumin stimulates the appetite.
• It 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 body heat, thus improving metabolism.
• It is used as a stimulant and an antispasmodic, and is also said to relieve nausea and diarrhoea.

See detailed benefits of cumin seeds, jeera.

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