Cumin, the gluey spice for garam masala, paprika, and curry powder

Cumin is a spice ingredient for making garam masala, paprika, and curry powder. However, it can be used independently. Known for its warm, earthy flavor and aroma with a bit of both sweetness and bitterness, the spice is valued among the coastal civilians in Malindi. It is sold locally in supermarkets and retail shops.

What are cumin seeds?

Also known as Cuminum Cyminum, cumin seeds, also called Jeera in India, are obtained from a flowering plant (a member of the parsley family) that is majorly grown in India, North Africa, and the Middle East.

The seeds have a warm earthy flavor with mildly bitter and sweet undertones, which also reflects in its powdered form. They look like caraway seeds but are boat-shaped and a bit longer than them.

cumin seeds

Cumin seeds on a white spoon | photo from

What is Cumin Powder?

Cumin powder is a spice powder that is prepared by grinding cumin seeds.

Although cumin powder is made from cumin seeds, both taste different when added to a dish. Cumin seeds burst into flavor when one seed comes into your mouth while the ground cumin mingles well with the base of the dish and becomes a part of the overall taste profile.

Health Benefits of Cumin

  1. Not only does it perk up the taste of the dishes it is added to, but it also has many nutritional benefits as well.
  2. The seeds are rich in vitamin E and hence have anti-aging properties.
  3. Research shows that cumin is very digestive, antiseptic, and diuretic.
  4. Not only is it good for your taste buds but it also helps you when you want to lose weight.
  5. They help in building up the body’s immunity and reducing the risk of falling ill.
  6. Moreover, it also reduces the risk of diabetes, blood sugar, and cancer and treats insomnia.
  7. It is also good for the skin, improves lactation in nursing mothers, and is considered good for brain health.


Cooking With Cumin

Depending on whether the recipe calls for cumin seed or ground cumin, you will use it differently in recipes. Whole cumin seeds should be included early in the recipe so the spice has time to release its essence; adding them to a hot broth or oil will allow the aroma and flavors to disperse into the dish.

Ground cumin is a quintessential spice in a few different blends, including curry powder. It is also used as part of a rub, in a marinade, and as a seasoning for hearty dishes.

If switching from whole seeds to the ground (or vice versa), you will need to add different amounts. Because the flavor of ground cumin is more concentrated than whole cumin seeds, you will need less in a dish.

For a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, use 1 1/4 tablespoons of cumin seeds.


How to Make Cumin Powder at Home?

Making cumin powder at home is super easy. You need cumin seeds and a spice grinder. The homemade powder is much more flavorful than the store-bought one as it starts to oxidize and lose its flavor over time. When made at home, you can make a small batch and use it fresh.

It is much more economical when made at home.

The homemade version is free of any additives. You can be sure of the quality when you make it home.

Cumin can garnish your recipes such as Kenyan kebab, Biriani, and Peshawari Kababs


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