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what you need to know

Root Source: Cumin

bowl of cumin by cookthink

 

what you should know

 

A fixture in both curry and chili powder blends (as well as in Indian masalas), cumin's smoky warmth has made it a key ingredient in spice mixtures and pastes across the globe.

 

Cumin can fly solo, too. We love to rub it into lamb chops before grilling, or mix it into the cheesy filling of a burrito, or use it to accent a slaw or simple sautéed vegetable dish.


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For the longest shelf life, your cumin should be stored in an airtight glass jar and kept in a cupboard (or some other dark place). As with many spices, you'll get the most flavor from cumin if you buy whole seeds and then grind them as you need them.


dry pan Lightly toasting cumin seeds in a dry skillet before using them helps release some of the seeds' aromas and lends a headier flavor to a dish.


cue: men With mentions in the Bible and the writings of Apicius ("when one is tired of all seasonings, cumin remains welcome..."), cumin has a long history as a culinary and medicinal spice. Apparently, there's also an old superstition about how cooking with cumin can keep your lover from wandering, but if you think spices will help with that, your problems are bigger than cooking.

 

chili by cookthink

 

what you need

 

Ana Sortun's Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean is split into chapters based on spice and herb groupings. Chapter 1: Cumin, coriander and cardamom.

 

Jane and Michael Stern's Chili Nation chronicles some of the countless versions of this alternate national dish, to which cumin often lends its musky smoke flavor.

 

One easy and effective way to get more flavor into your cooking: buy your spices whole and spend $15 on a coffee grinder you use exclusively for grinding spices.

 

Chip uses his All-Clad 8-inch fry pan mostly to toast spices.

 

okra by cookthink

 

what you do

 

Cumin flavors both a spicy Indian okra and the cucumber raita that can help offset the okra's heat.

 

On a hot summer night, a steaming ragout or stew can actually have a cooling, cleansing effect. Try this delicious Indian style beef and sweet potatoes dish with a bowl of simple quinoa or basmati rice.

 

Brys is big on isolating single spices in a dish, like in this grilled cumin veal chop.

 

Or you could try a slightly more complex spice mixture with this grilled chili-cumin pork chop.

 

With its tart citrusy flavor, coriander rounds out cumin. Their natural affinity is on display in these black bean burritos with carrots, zucchini and cilantro.

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