The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

11:14 PM

Food of the Day - Cumin

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

Cumin Plant

I love spices.  I like to use a wide variety of spices, and plenty of them.  Spices and herbs can make a boring dish tasty, and they can make a delicious dish spectacular.  One of my favorite spices of all time is cumin, a very versatile spice that is made from the ground seeds of the cumin plant.
Cumin Seed

The seeds can be bought and ground before use or, more commonly, the spice can be purchased pre-ground and used as needed.  Cumin keeps well, and retains its strong, aromatic flavor for a long time.
The oils in cumin impart a powerful taste that will permeate your food, and will also provide a rich, wonderful aroma.
Powdered Cumin

Cumin is very popular in Middle Eastern and Asian cooking, as well as in many other countries world-side.  One of the most famous dishes made with cumin is curry, a spicy Asian dish that is very typically seen in India and Thailand.  Cumin is also commonly added to chili, and is often mixed with other spices to make such spice blends as curry powder and adobo.  This potent seed helps to bring out the flavor of other spices, while also imparting its own mouth-watering fragrance and taste.

Another tip for using cumin is in salsa.  I have been adding cumin to my homemade salsas for quite some time, and it adds a great depth of flavor, bringing out the taste of the chiles, and augmenting the flavor of the tomatoes.  I definitely recommend it.  Just make salsa as you usually would, and add cumin to taste. Watch out for my homemade salsa recipe in a later post.
Buy a bottle of powdered cumin in your local supermarket (or, if you are more adventurous, buy some cumin seeds, and grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle), and keep it on hand!  This staple will never do you wrong.  Add it to chicken, soup, sauces, or mix it with other spices to create a rub for fish, steak, lamb... Anything you want!  This is a very versatile spice.

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