Gourmet Food Source
Also known as jeera or zeera, cumin is the small brown seed from an annual herb cultivated in Western Asia. It is now widely produced from Indonesia to China and Iran and the Southern Mediterranean.
The seed is similar in appearance to caraway seeds and is a central ingredient in the food of India and Morocco as well as being probably the most important spice in the composition of curry powders.
Cumin is excellent when sprinkled over grilled meats and vegetables, even over fish when used in moderation. It has a singular, quite overpowering taste and aroma and should be used sparingly. Available in both whole and ground form, the whole seeds should be dry fried or oven roasted to release their natural oils and flavours. As cumin is very easy to grind to a powder I would always recommend buying the whole seeds.
Try mixing some with salt to serve alongside roast lamb or grilled chicken for a true Moroccan taste and who could forget its importance in a bowl of houmous? Carrots are delicious roasted with honey, lemon and a sprinkling of toasted cumin, as is a bunch of spinach just wilted in cumin infused butter.
Cumin should not be confused with nigella or black cumin, neither, of which are true cumin.
Content and picture © Miles Collins