The white cumin seeds are an aromatic spice with a distinctive bitter flavor and strong, warm aroma due to its abundant oil content. Cumin "seeds" are actually the small dried fruit of an annual plant in the parsley family. Native to the Mediterranean, cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger than caraway, another spice it's sometimes confused with. Sold whole or ground, the seeds come in three colors: amber, white or black. Amber is most widely available, but the black has such a complex flavor it should not be substituted for the other two. The white Cumin is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexian cuisines, and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder.
Roasted white cumin- The cumin seeds can be roasted on a hot plate for 2 minutes on a medium flame. Let it cool down and then they can be stored as it is or further powdered for various recipe.
Crushed white cumin- Crushed white cumin refers to the seeds which has been crushed or pounded into a coarse powder. You may do the same at home by pounding the cumin seeds in a mortar with a pestle. Choose the texture from coarse to fine, depending on the cooking method, recipe requirements and individual tastes.
Roasted and crushed- The cumin seeds can be roasted and then crushed finely or coasrsely as per recipe.
White Cumin seed powder- This can be prepared by grounding the cumin seeds into fine powder. A blender may be used for this purpose as cumin are hard to be ground into powder in a mortar and pestle. The powdered seeds can be stored in an airtight container and used as desired.
Roasted and powdered cumin seed powder- This can be prepared by roasting the whole cumin seeds and then crushing them into fine powder.
How to select
Cumin can be bought whole or in the ground form. Whole white cumin seeds are much more aromatic and flavoursome and if possible try to buy whole seeds as opposed to the ground powder. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing cumin seeds, try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated. While buying packaged white cumin powder, check the expiry date and feel for lumpiness( sign of moisture inside the packet)
" Cumin Seeds, whole or ground, are an essential ingredient in preparing vegetable curries, rices, savories and dals.
" Cumin blends well with coriander and with spice mixtures, as in Garam Masala, Curry Powder and Dhania Jeeru.
" Cumin goes well with fish, vegetables and grains. Cumin is used in virtually every curry in India
" The white cumin seeds Matches well with: beans, chicken, couscous, curry, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils, peas, pork, potatoes, rice, sausages, soups, stews, eggs.
How to store
Store in an airtight container and place in a dry, cool area, away from light. Flavor and aroma can be retained for up to six months.
" Cumin is ayurvedically known to aid digestion, dispel flatulence, and is effective when used as a poultice in relieving aches and pains. Cumin steeped with honey will dispel colds, fevers and sore throats.