Cumin is used frequently whole and in spice mixes to add a characteristic smoky note to Indian dishes. Also called Zeera, Jeera. Cumin en poudre.
Cumin or jeera, is a beloved spice that comes in use in everyday cooking in Indian cuisine.
The most common form of cumin used in cooking is the cumin seeds. The tempering of cumin seeds in ghee imparts a delectable aroma to recipes such as Dal curry, chicken curry, aloo jeera, and jeera rice.
Flavor of cumin powder
Cumin powder is a bit bitter-sweet and adds an earthy-smoky flavor to recipes.
There are two ways to use the cumin powder.
The regular cumin powder found in stores is obtained by grinding raw cumin seeds into a fine powder. It is light brown in color. The cumin seeds are not dry roasted but simply ground to get the cumin powder. This cumin powder is cooked with other spices to season the recipes.
Another way is to use the Roasted cumin powder, which is dark brown in color. It is obtained by dry roasting the Cumin seeds on a low-medium flame, with constant stirring, till they turn dark brown. The roasted seeds are then ground to a fine roasted powder in a blender. The Roasted cumin powder is prepared at home and mainly used to garnish the recipes.
Some common ways to use the cumin powder:
- Cumin powder is a chief ingredient in other ground spice blends such as curry powder, sambhar, taco seasoning, garam masala, and more.
- While whole cumin seeds are used to temper the recipes, mainly in the beginning of the cooking process, raw ground cumin powder is mainly used as a seasoning with spices such as Coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili, and Hing. It is also used to marinade chicken and paneer recipes.
- One can also use roasted cumin powder to add a delightful savory-smoky tinge to raita, dahi vada, chaat, and chachh (beaten yogurt). It is used as a garnishing on top of these recipes.
Health benefits of cumin:
- Cumin is an antioxidant, believed to lower insulin level and regulate blood sugar.
- It lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in our body.
- Cumin seeds are rich in many micro nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.
- Cumin seeds also help in digestion.