Cumin info Cooking Tips
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Cumin info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
Enter a spice market in India and you will be overwhelmed by the rich embers blacks and sages and the warm acrid aromas which fill the air. Among the heaps of spices you will find one that is used in the regional cookery of every part of India. This gentle spice can be tasted in
the rich meat curries of northern Kashmir and in the hot coconut curries of the south in the exquisite vegetarian fare of Gujarat as well as in the river fish preparations of Bengal. This spice is cumin known to man since Biblical times. Sometimes confused with caraway or nigella cumin is an important spice in its own right and one that makes a happy addition to almost every indian savoury.
How it grows
Cumin is the seed of a small slender annual herb of the coriander family native to the Nile valley. The plant grows to a height of 3045cm. It is grown extensively in India Iran Morocco China Russia Indonesia Japan and Turkey.
Appearance and taste
Cumin seeds are really the fruits of the herb. These are elongated oval and 56 mm long. They range from sage green to tobacco brown in colour and have longitudinal ridges. During the drying process some fine stalks invariably get left on so cumin appears slightly bristly Another variety of cumin is black cumin or kala jeera. The seeds are dark brown to black and are smaller and finer than cumin The smell of cumin is distinctive. It has been described as peculiar strong and bitter and is usually loved or hated. Cumin has a warm somewhat bitter taste. Black cumin is not as bitter in flavour
Buying and storing
Available whole as seeds cumin is also found crushed to a powder which is often blended with coriander seed powder to form a widely used mixture called dhanajeera. This combination is one of the essential spice blends used in indian cookery. Every packet of cumin has fine dried stalks but avoid those that have the reed like thicker stems as well. These are slightly yellowish and quite easy to recognise. It is not at all difficult to make cumin powder at home. Roast the seeds on a griddle until they change colour and crush them into a fine toasty powder. Roasting the cumin releases and enriches its earthy flavour.Store cumin in a dry place away from light. The powder must be used within 3 months.
Medicinal and other uses
Known for its miraculous curative properties it is prescribed for indigestion biliousness end flatulent colic. Hot cumin water is excellent for colds and fevers and is made by boiling a teaspoon of roasted seeds in 3 cups of water Honey can be added to soothe a sore throat. It is believed that cumin seeds scattered between the folds of linen or wool keep insects away. The essential oil of cumin is used in perfumery to complement flowery tones like hyacinth and violet. It is also used in the manufacture of soaps.
Suited to almost anv cuisine in the world cumin is used in North African dishes like couscous middle Eastern ones like kebabs in Spanish stews and in American pies. In India most curries start of with a loud crackle as cumin seeds hit the hot oil before the meat or vegetables are added. Roasted cumin powder is sprinkled on top o salads or yoghurt as a dark contrasting aromatic gamish. It is also the very essence of jaljeera a tasty digestive drink. It is also used in spice blends like panch phoron and tandoori masala.
Cuminum cyminum. In the Mediterranean cumin is among the most popular of spices. Its presence is made unmistakable by its powerful aroma. I regard cumin as a cool spice with an elegant taste. It originated in Egypt and the middle East and then spread eastwards and westwards. Its light coloured greengray seeds can be used either whole or ground but they always taste richer when they have been roasted first.
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