Cumin is a very commonly used spice in Indian dishes. It is either used whole or powdered. It adds a smoky aroma to the dishes. It is a common spice but is often confused with fennel, caraway, and anise seeds. But the difference can be told by looking at its color (brown, as opposed to green fennel) and taste (smoky). Cumin imparts an earthy, warming and aromatic character to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies such as curry and chili
The best way to use cumin is to add it to warm oil and then letting the whole spice splutter for a few seconds before adding any other ingredients in the oil. If used in powdered form, dry roasting the seeds and then grinding them brings a very intense aroma, as the essential oil from the seeds can be extracted very well this way. One very important thing to remember about cumin is that it burns very quickly. Adding the seeds to the pan at the right temperature is important, else it can be burnt and that makes the dish taste bitter.
In India cumin is used in several dishes just in whole or powder or as a spice mix as in garam masala. Cumin can be found in some cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Tex-Mex or Mexican-style), and is found in adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, bahaarat, etc.
Cumin is known for the health benefits it comes with like helps in reducing inflammation and digestion. Few seeds of cumin boiled in water can be consumed as cumin water this helps in weight loss and fat reduction.
Recipe using Cumin – Jeera Rice or Cumin Flavored Rice