Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spice of the month - Cumin

Cumin is another ancient spice. It is even mentioned in the Old Testament.  Ancient Greeks used cumin as a table condiment like pepper or salt.

At German medieval weddings the bride and groom had it in their pockets along with dill and salt to ensure faithfulness

Cumin was used to combat flatulence and was said to make you very pale in the face

Cumin seeds are quite similar in appearance to caraway seeds.  Very aromatic and spicy rather than hot - but best used sparingly.  A little goes a long way.

Good quality cumin seeds should be khaki coloured rather than brown.

Dry roast the seeds before grinding/using them – this will lessen the cumin's bitterness and will intensify an earthy nutty and almost coffee like smell.

Cumin is an essential ingredient in Indian curries.

Cumin is also found in North African dishes like couscous, eggplant and in Indian curry mixes.

Mexican dishes – cumin is used in combination with chilli

Cumin goes very well with pumpkin.

Ideas - add some cumin to scrambled eggs for a flavour burst

Try coating some lamb with ground cumin and then cook them on the grill.  Sprinkle a little onto yoghurt.

Add cumin to minced beef.

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Discovering Vegetables, Herbs & Spices by Susanna Lyle
Julie Biuso at Home
Spice Market by Jane Lawson
Spicery by Ian & Elizabeth Hemphill
Spices & Natural Flavourings by Jennifer Mulherin
Spices by Sophie Grigson
Spices Condiments and Seasonings by Kenneth T Farrell
Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen by Elizabeth David
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander


  1. Cumin seeds?? Never knew that!! Thanks!

  2. I love cooking with cumin I use it in a lot of dishes at home :)

  3. I love cumin! Adding to scrambled eggs is a great idea, but does it mean seeds or ground cumin, I wonder?


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