Cumin: The Infamous Household Spice
BY DANFE |
Is there anyone who has not heard of the infamous taste enhancer known as cumin? Referred to by different names in different regions, cumin seeds are a household ingredient that is inevitably added to all Indian dishes. Cumin seeds come from the dried seed of a plant known as Cuminum cyminum, which is a member of the parsley family. Cumin has a warm and earthy flavor and aroma with a bit of both sweetness and bitterness. These seeds spice up any savory dish they are added to and are also well-known for their ability to complement the flavors of other spices as well.
Cumin seeds are an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. These minerals are crucial in supporting functions such as the production and formation of red blood cells, growth and development of muscles, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis. Here are some of the cumin seeds benefits:
Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds:
- Aids digestion: Cumin is considered to be one of the most gut-friendly spices as it promotes the production of pancreatic enzymes which helps with digestion. When taken with hot water, the essential oils, magnesium, and sodium content of cumin seeds are known to provide relief from stomach aches.
- Said to Relieve Insomnia: Cumin seeds have hypnotic properties and tranquilizing effects, which help ease the stress and anxiety that lead to insomnia. Cumin also contains melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone, as well as significant amounts of iron and magnesium, which are all crucial for regulating brain activity and inducing sleep.
- Provides Cold Relief: Cumin seeds possess powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making them an ideal treatment for colds. By acting as an expectorant, cumin loosens up the phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts and makes them easier to eliminate. The essential oils present in cumin act as a disinfectant and also help boost immunity.
- Helps Improve Memory: Consuming cumin is supposed to be beneficial to the brain since it contains minerals and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin B6, zeaxanthin, and niacin. Cumin is also known to promote mental health and improve memory by nourishing the brain cells.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cumin can help get quick relief from allergies and stings. It soothes the skin and assists in controlling any inflammation caused due to allergies. Cumin’s antibacterial properties help kill bacteria on the skin and treat acne. A glass of cumin-infused water consumed regularly is said to do wonders for your skin. Cumin not only aids in weight loss but also affects the body’s fat profile positively by helping reduce dangerous blood lipid levels. Aside from these health benefits, cumin’s warm flavors make it the perfect ingredient to use in any savory dish. Here are a few delicious recipes using cumin seeds.
Spicy Cumin Potatoes
A warm, comforting, spice-filled meal, this quick recipe makes a fun and truly authentic potato dish that can be enjoyed by all.
- 500 g small potatoes
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp cumin seed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Chili powder to taste
- Salt & pepper
- Lemon juice, to taste (about 1 lemon) or set out slices as garnish
- Set a pot of potatoes to boil and cook until tender. Meanwhile, fry up the cumin seeds in some vegetable oil until fragrant and just beginning to color (30 seconds to a minute).
- Toss on the onions and cook until soft. Then, stir in all the spices, salt, and pepper.
- Halve or quarter your potatoes, as desired, and add to the onion mixture. Squeeze on a little lemon juice, as desired.
- Toss until completely coated with the golden, spiced goodness. Serve hot with fresh lemon slices!
Rice infused with cumin can add a refreshing flavor to any main dish such as a stew or curry. Pair this with your choice of curry or dal for a hearty meal!
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- ½ cup onions, sliced
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp oil
- Wash the rice and soak for at least 1 hour.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds.
- When the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add the sliced onions and saute till transparent but not brown.
- Now add the rice and stir a few times before adding 3 cups of water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil uncovered.
- When it comes to a boil, sprinkle a few drops of lemon, cover the pan, and lower the heat.
- The rice should cook for 10 minutes.
- In case you want it to cook slower, place a griddle or something under the pan after it has come to a boil and you have lowered the heat. Serve hot!
Cumin Roast Vegetables
Cumin Roasted Vegetables are deliciously spiced mixed veggies that are a perfect meal prep add-on! Plus, you can add them to any wrap or salad or eat them entirely as a meal.
- 600g potatoes
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
- 1 yellow pepper, cubed
- 1 red pepper, cubed
- 1 orange pepper, cubed
- 2 medium courgettes, cubed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190 C. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters, then lower them carefully into a pot of boiling water. Cook the potatoes for five minutes – just long enough to parboil them.
- Add the mustard and cumin seeds to a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat while the potatoes are boiling. Stir in the oil, garam masala, and turmeric after toasting for 30 seconds. Add the onion and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
- Stir frequently as you cook the onion in the spices for 1-2 minutes.
- After draining the potatoes, toss them several times in a large colander so that they develop a rough surface.
- Add potatoes to the pan with the onion and spices, season with a few pinches of ground black pepper, and toss together until the potatoes are lightly coated.
- Place everything on a large baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and add the peppers and courgettes.
- Mix lightly and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and golden-brown and the vegetables are soft. Serve hot!
The Creamiest Cumin Sauce
An easy recipe for a sauce that can be made in a jiff with the rich flavors of cumin seeds and sour cream. Can be added to any dish of your choice!
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ⅛ tsp ground red pepper
- ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
- Stir all the ingredients together. Wrap up and chill. Add to any dish!
It is evident that cumin seeds are a rich source of many nutrients such as iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. The health benefits of cumin seeds alongside their flavors make them an important addition to one’s diet.They should be used first in the recipe to allow the spice to release its essence. Cumin is a quintessential spice in curry powder and is a primary ingredient of many marinades and spice mixes. It can also be used to season dishes and as a seasoning for heartier foods. These are just a few ways in which cumin seeds can be used in everyday cooking, make sure to try them out at home!