Indian Name: Jeera
It is an essential part of Indian spice blends either as a whole spice or ground. There are many different ways to use cumin in Indian recipes.
I use it mostly in three different ways, whole cumin, cumin powder, and freshly roasted and crushed.
The raw whole cumin seeds are tempered in hot oil at the beginning of cooking. It releases its essential oil into the hot oil, gives a nice aroma and flavor to the vegetables and meat.
Roast the cumin seeds with very little salt in low heat till it releases its aroma. Grind it to make a fine powder to add into marinades, dry recipes, and gravies. Store it in an air-tight container for long use.
Freshly roasted and coarsely ground cumin in a Mortar and pestle are used for garnishing snacks, and drinks.
How I use them:
Roast the cumin seeds with few dry red chilies and grind them to make a fine powder. You can use it in many vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Cumin seeds crushed with Fresh green chilies and garlic give a great flavor to many dishes.
Soak an equal amount of cumin seeds with mustard seeds. Blend them with a handful of Garlic cloves, and green chilies to make a smooth paste for Fish curries.
Grind the cumin seeds with coriander seeds, poppy seeds, and red chilies to make a smooth paste to use in Chicken and Lamb curries.
Cumin is also an integral part of Panch phoron (5 spices), a spice blend from Eastern India consists of equal amount of fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds. This is used for tempering Dals (lentils) and green leafy vegetables.