Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is an annual herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae).

Cumin originates from the Near East, appeared there as a spice, to smoke or to prepare dishes, and It is the same family as parsley.

Cumin is probably native to the Mediterranean basin in the Nile Valley or in Asia Minor since it can be traced back to Egypt at least five thousand years ago. In ancient Egypt, caraway and cumin had medicinal properties. In addition, Pharaonic tombs were strewn with cumin seeds by members of Pharaonic families.

Cumin is used in the composition of very different aromas such as curry, chilli and garam masala (a mixture of traditional spices from North India), but it is to be added moderately to prepared dishes, because in large doses taste is strong, its flavour hot, pungent and pungent. It can be used instead of caraway in some dishes, and it remains the essential element in the making of the powder of masala. The cumin incorporated into cheeses Gouda and Edam is actually caraway. It is widely used in the majority of northern China, in Muslim or formerly Muslim regions (from Xinjiang to Manchuria), and today much in Beijing, to season the lamb. It reduces the strong odours of red meat or fish; disinfect it thanks to its antiseptic virtues resistant to cooking, and perfume as well as increase appetite. Through the ages, soups, bread, poultry and fish have been designed, a principle that consisted in incorporating or brushing these dishes of cumin. Other dish ideas in which cumin can be added are Moroccan tajines, Tunisian fish couscous, lablabi, merguez and ras-el-hanout, and gazpacho and empanadas from Central America.

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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