Spice of the Month: Cumin by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Recipes, October 5, 2012
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Dating back to the Old Testament, this ancient spice is a relative of parsley (but you’d never know it by the flavor). Tiny slivered brownish-black seeds are super aromatic and explode with even more flavor when ground into a fine powder. Some specialty markets may also have white cumin seeds.
Popular across various cultures, you’ll find cumin as a staple in Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines.
One tablespoon of whole cumin seeds has 22 calories and 1 gram of fat along with 1 gram of fiber and 22-percent of your daily iron needs.
What to do With Cumin
Ground cumin is a common ingredient in both curry and chili powders. It’s warm, not spicy – a nice balance to fiery spices like cayenne and chipotle.
Use cumin to add a deep, nutty flavor to chicken, fish, pork or beef. Add to a marinade for a platter of grilled veggies like zucchini, eggplant, peppers and portabello mushrooms. Jazz up chicken soup, beef stew and turkey chili. Or blend into salad dressing and hummus.
Cumin seeds can also be enjoyed whole – they’re divine when sautéed in oil and added to soups and sauces. Indian classics like lentil soup and masala use this method frequently.
Shopping and Storage Tips
Store cumin seeds or ground cumin in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. To bring out the flavor of cumin seeds, lightly toast in a dry pan.
Recipes to try:
Cumin Grilled Chicken Breasts
Moroccan-Style Tilapia With Cumin, Mango and Cilantro
Sweet & Spicy Hummus
Coleslaw with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette
Red Lentil Soup
Chickpea and Artichoke Masala