Monday, December 30, 2013

Cumin in cooking

Cumin was a symbol of greed to the ardent Greek. It is the ground raw cumin seeds and it is used in some recipes as a seasoning.

The earliest records are from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of the Euphrates and Tigris valleys, where its fruit were highly prized as a flavoring, and in Pharaonic Egypt for its medical properties.

Cumin is mentioned in the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah and ground fruits remain an essential of the Mediterranean, especially Egypt, Turkey and the Levant.

The Roman scientist Pliny considered cumin an appetite stimulant. The cumin seeds, which are really fruits, have a warm, bitter flavor.

In ancient Rome, cumin was ground and spread on breads and was used as a substitute for black peppercorns.

In modern times, European cooks use cumin for cheese flavoring. It is a key ingredient of commercial curry and chile powders. The spice is also added to soups meats, pickles and sauerkraut. The flavour also enhances vegetables such as zucchini and eggplant. It is often used to flavour pickled vegetables. The flavour is very strong, so use judiciously.

The seeds require lengthy cooking, and for this reason are often sold in small quantities in powdered form. 

In Morocco, cumin is used sparingly in cooking, and is often served as a condiment, especially with lamb dishes. Small dishes of cumin and salt are placed on the table to be added according to individual.

The oil of cumin is employed commercially in perfumery and is an essential ingredient of kummel liquors and some German baked goods.

The cumin seeds are the most commonly used seasoning in north Indian dishes. When dry roasted, whole cumin develops a more intense aroma and is added to Indian and Sri Lankan curries and as essential ingredient in tandoori recipes.
Cumin in cooking
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