Cumin seed is a common spice used in Moroccan cuisine with an earth, nutty and spicy taste. This spice is one of the most commonly used in Moroccan cuisine, and it’s used in almost all types of tajines. Cumin is originally from India, known to relieve pain, and is also easily digested for those who have weaker stomachs than others. You’ll find that cumin is placed on tables in Morocco, similar to how Americans keep salt and pepper on the table available for anyone to spice their food.
Cumin’s nutty and peppery flavor is popular among many cultures who want to add a little punch to their food. You can taste cumin in chili, Mexican food, and Tex Mex dishes. It also plays an important role in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, as it’s a key component in curry. Luckily you can find whole and ground cumin year-round in grocery stores to add a punch to your food.
Resembling caraway, cumin seeds are oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color. Both cumin and caraway belong to the plant family (Umbelliferae). You can buy cumin both in its whole seed and ground into a powder.
Health Benefits of Cumin
Cumin seeds are an excellent source of iron, and plays many vital roles in the body. Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. Hemoglobin is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Iron also keeps your immune system healthy, keeping you a healthy hardy who is less likely to get sick because you intake the proper amount of nutrients for your body.
Cumin may have anti-carcinogenic properties. Studies show that cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors. This is due to the spice’s potent free radical scavenging abilities and the ability it has to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes.
Cumin Benefits the Digestive System
Cumin seeds have traditionally been known to benefit the digestive system. Research shows that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which are compound necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Tips for Cooking Cumin
- Lightly roast cumin before using it in a recipe to bring out the fullness of their aroma and flavor.
- Make a cup of warming and soothing cumin tea by boiling the seeds in water and then letting them steep for 8-10 minutes.
- Cumin complements legumes like lentils, garbanzo beans and black beans. So, add this spice when preparing a meal with these foods.
- Add pizzazz to plain brown rice by sprinkling cumin seeds, dried apricots and almonds over it.
- Season sautéed veggies with cumin to give it North African flair.
Now that you've learned about cumin, try it in authentic Moroccan food. You won't regret it. Enjoy!