Cumin is one of the most used spices in so many different cuisines around the world and its flavor is essential in so many spice blends like sweet curry powder, chili powder, and taco and shawarma seasonings. Cumin is warm, earthy, slightly peppery, and citrusy. If you crush a whole cumin seed between your teeth you’ll also notice a slight menthol quality to it. This spice works well in a variety of rice dishes, stews, soups, bread, pickles, barbecue sauces, and chili con carne recipes. Vegetarians and vegans like to use cumin as it adds a savory, meaty quality to the food as well as more depth and complexity to them. But it is always important to be conservative when using cumin as its flavor can easily overtake the dish. With cumin, remember that a little bit goes a long way. If you are using whole cumin seeds, it is better to toast them first to bring out the flavor of its essential oil then you can sprinkle it on salads or rice for added flavor. Toasting is also important if you want to ground your own cumin. Toast the whole seeds until fragrant, let them cool a bit, then blast them in the food processor to get cumin powder.
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