Cumin seeds, an essential spice, is used in cuisines worldwide. It's a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine. It is well known as jeera, an earthy spice in India and is often associated with spicy foods, but it actually has a warm, citrus flavour without the fiery heat.
What is cumin?
It is a commonly used spice derived from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant.
It is a versatile spice that adds depth and flavour to a wide variety of dishes. Its unique combination of earthy, nutty, and slightly spicy notes makes it an essential ingredient in many global cuisines.
What does it taste like?
Cumin seeds has a flavour profile that is both warm and earthy, with a slight bitterness. Whole cumin, when fried in oil until crackled, imparts a strong flavour to the dish. Cumin powder instantly boosts the taste of any dish.
Seasoning: This is a spice that can be used to season a wide range of dishes, including soups such as carrot lentil soup, stews, curries such as dosakaya pappu, kadai paneer, kohlrabi curry, pepper rasam, moringa leaves dal and rice dishes such as coconut rice, khichdi, tomato bath and pudina pulao.
Tadka (Tempering): In Indian cooking, cumin seeds are typically added to hot oil at the beginning of a recipe to release their essential oils and impart a rich, toasty flavor to the dish. This technique is known as “tadka” or “tempering.”
Bread: Cumin seeds are a great addition to different types of bread such as naan, stuffed paratha and roti, to enhance their flavour. They are sometimes sprinkled on top of the dough or mixed into the dough itself. It is also used in jeera biscuits.
Beverages: It can be used in beverages in the form of crushed or powdered cumin, particularly in some traditional herbal teas such as kashaya, and summer beverages such as watermelon juice and masala lassi.
Spice Blends: It is one of the essential spices in many spice blends, like bisibele bath powder, instant sambar mix, biryani masala and rasam powder. It enhances the overall flavour of these blends. It is used along with coriander seeds, methi seeds, cassia and cloves.
Store cumin seeds or powder in a dry place, preferably in a clean jar. Over time, ground raw cumin powder loses its flavour when stored for a long period of time. Dry roasted and ground cumin retains flavour for an extended period in an airtight, dry container.
Both are two spices with unique flavours and culinary applications.
The key differences between them are appearance, flavour and their use.
Cumin seeds are small, elongated, and are brown. Shahi jeera seeds have a darker colour, almost black and are more curved compared to cumin seeds.
Cumin has a warm, earthy, and citrus flavour. Shahi jeera has a milder and sweeter flavour compared to cumin. It also has a subtle anise-like flavour.
Cumin, a versatile spice, is widely incorporated into many savoury dishes. Shahi jeera is usually used in rice-based dishes and bread. It's a common ingredient in biryani, pulao, naan, and paratha.
More Dishes with Cumin Seeds
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