5 things I bet you didn’t know about cumin…
- It finds mention in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments
- There is an island in Malta called Comino, because Cumin grows in the wild all over the island
- Cumin was used in ancient Roman cooking and was used as a condiment (much like pepper is used now) in ancient Greece.
- Ancient Egypt used Cumin as a preservative in their mummification process
- Cumin is very rich in iron and is a carminative and anti-congestive. It is also know to have anti carcinogenic properties.
If these aren’t interesting enough reasons to include it in your diet, cumin also packs a punch on flavor.
Originally grown in Iran and the Mediterranean region, cumin is now grown across large parts of Asia, Middle East, Northern Africa, and parts of South America.
Cumin with its warm, earthy flavor is used as a whole seed and in powdered form extensively in South Asian and Middle Eastern Cooking. It is also used to flavor breads and some cheeses. It is used in Brazilian and Persian cooking and is sometimes used in Tex-Mex cooking.
In Indian cooking, Cumin (ji-rah) is usually used whole as a tempering for lentils and stir fries. The seeds are roasted, powdered and used to flavor curries and chutneys. Along with turmeric, red chilli, coriander and cumin are the most commonly used powdered spices.
Roasted, crushed cumin seeds added to lightly salted yogurt forms the base for one of the most common Indian dips / accompaniments with Indian food – Raita. In fact, a sprinkling of freshly powdered roasted cumin can enhance the taste of most India food.
In Ayurveda (Ancient Indian medicine), Cumin is used in different forms, both internally and externally. In Southern India, drinking water is boiled with cumin, cooled till tepid, and this cumin infused water is drunk in place of regular water to aid digestion.
Cumin helps in boosting immunity by virtue of it being rich in iron and Vitamin C. It also is a free radical scavenger and enhances detoxifying enzymes. In lab tests, Cumin usage has helped in protection from tumors, endorsing its anti carcinogenic properties.
All these benefits, coupled with its distinctive flavor, cumin can add some healthy crunch to your favorite food…