Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's talk Cumin

Herbs and spices are what pulls out the flavour from dishes cooked in a back yard cook-out or in the kitchen of the Queen of England. I remember the first time I saw someone in Canada prepare a chicken for cooking without adding any seasoning to it. It was so foreign to me...it's like getting all dressed up to attend a gala event and leave without having a bath. 
You have to dress the dish to get the best from it. Not  going over board, but just enough to compliment it. 

So today I'd like to talk about one of my favourite spice; Cumin; not to turn you off, but sometimes it smells like bad Bo:), but when added to the right food it shines.

Growing up my dad would parch this spice in a frying pan, then use a wooden matha to grind it into powder, which would then be used in curries, dhal and dhal puri.

It is the dried seed of the herb called Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. A small plant harvested by hand and can grow up to about 2 ft. tall. It is family to parsley and dill and can be mistaken for the caraway seed, except for a slight difference in colour and its strong smell.

Cumin can be found all over the world from the Mediterranean, India, Asia, the Caribbean, to the jungles of South America the hub of busy Toronto, the busy Big Apple and to beautiful BC; cumin is popular all over.  
Used mostly in ethnic and spicy foods, cumin sits as one of the most popular spice in the world a spice for its distinctive and strong aroma. It is added as an ingredient in chilli powder, garam masala, and curry powder.
It can be found in cheeses, breads, soups, stews sprinkled on cauliflower, and mostly popular in curries cooked in the Caribbean and South America.

So the next time you plan on making any of the above dishes, be creative and add some cumin, it just might become one of your favourite must have spice in your pantry.

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