Cumin is used frequently whole and in spice mixes to add a characteristic smoky note to Indian dishes. It can be identified by its distinct ridged brown seeds and intense fragrance. It is sometimes confused with fennel, caraway, and anise seeds, but you can tell the difference by looking at its color (brown, as opposed to green fennel) and taste (smoky, as opposed to a stronger licorice taste).
Cumin is best used freshly ground for the most intense flavor. One thing to keep in mind while dry-roasting this spice is that it burns really easily, and burnt cumin tastes very bitter and will be very noticeable your dish. Toast this spice until your nose just gets a whiff of smoke and fragrance (about 30 seconds max), and then let it cool before blending into mixes.
Cumin seeds are primarily used for cooking and it is suggested that they are toasted before use to extract their pure nuttiness to the greatest degree. Cumin can help improve digestion and also possesses anti-flatulent properties. It can be predominantly found as an ingredient in curries, spice mixes, and other savory dishes.
Also called jeera.
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