|Cumin is pronounced "kuh-min" and is native to China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Turkey and today is also grown in Argentina, Iran, Mexico and the Middle East. In our ongoing effort to satisfy the most discerning home cooks, restaurant owners and Executive Chefs we've searched for the cumin with the highest oil content. Our dewhiskered whole cumin seed is grown in India. The scientific name for cumin is Cuminium cyminum.
Cumin has only recently begun to be recognized as a popular spice in this country, but worldwide, it is one of the most consumed spices right behind chiles and pepper. For cooks in the Far East, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, cumin seed has long been a signature spice and is a key ingredient in various spice blends and in many bean, couscous, curries, rice and vegetable dishes.
Cumin's very distinctive flavor possesses an earthy, nutty, spicy taste with somewhat bitter undertones and a warm, penetrating aroma with hints of lemon. We recommend that cumin be used sparingly as it is quite potent.
We often get the question "Is cumin spicy?". The answer is - yes it's spicy but it doesn't have the same kind of spicy heat that a chiles or even pepper would have. In our kitchen we typically prefer to use the whole Cumin Seed so that we can freshly grind it smaller quantities as needed for maximum flavor. But for convenience sake our ground cumin is an excellent choice.
When cumin is dry roasted is unleashes a more intense aroma. In Southern India it is often roasted in ghee or oil.
Cumin seeds are oval shaped and elongated with a ridged surface. They are greenish yellow, grayish or light brown in color and when ground cumin is brownish yellow to dark brown in color.
Cumin works well in combination with allspice, anise seed, brown mustard, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric and yellow mustard.
Black cumin (also known as Kala Jeera), whose scientific name is Cuminum nigrum, is a popular spice in Iranian, North Indian and Pakistani cuisine and is a smaller variety of cumin with a different flavor profile. We have not been able to find a reliable source for black cumin yet (but we continue to search). Nigella is sometimes referred to as “black cumin” or “black caraway” but is not technically black cumin.
Some of our favorite recipes with Ground Cumin are Tortilla Soup, Sweet Chickpea Chili in Slow Cooker, Arroz Con Pollo and Cumin Seasoned Grilled Zucchini.
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