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A Spice Trendsetter! What Does Cumin Taste Like?

What Does Cumin Taste Like

Cumin is a spice known to India, however, it has the ability to imbed itself deep into local cuisine once introduced to a new land. This is why it is one of the famous spices used in the world today.

Cumin is sure to add a taste of the earth in a variety of dishes. Don’t be discouraged by its simple form, as it is an essential part of many dishes.

We love everything exotic; let’s go into the world of cumin!

What Is Cumin?

adding cumin on dish

Cumin seeds come from a plant, which is small and boat-shaped. The most common type of cumin is a brown-yellow color (the one you’d find in your grandma’s cupboard). There are other varieties, such as black cumin, white cumin, and green cumin.

You would commonly see whole cumin seeds in an Indian recipe and ground cumin in Mexican and Middle Eastern recipes. Cumin is also found in barbecue sauce, baked beans, chili, and marinades for beef, chicken, and fish.

Ground cumin is mixed in chili/curry powder to bring out its other tastes as well as provide an earthy taste to the dish. It is also found in other blends, such as garam masala.

Whole Cumin vs Ground Cumin

whole cumin and ground cumin

Cumin in its different forms can bring different versions of its taste. Both are used in various recipes from many different backgrounds. The whole seed of cumin is what you’d see in an Indian dish.

These seeds are added to your hot oil before adding anything else, so the flavor mixes with the oil and other ingredients to follow.

A little tip from the kitchen: Roast your cumin seeds before cooking — it will bring out more flavor!

You can make ground cumin from grinding roasted cumin seeds. The powder can be added at any point in your recipe, as this form does not need heat to exhibit its flavor.

While adding ground cumin is easier, you can enjoy a more intense flavor from roasted cumin seeds. If you prefer to have ground cumin, it’s best to grind these roasted seeds.

Remember to be careful when using measurements of cumin. The number of cumin seeds will not equal ground cumin. Also, once cumin is ground, it will slowly lose its flavor potency over time, so it should be regularly replaced.

What Does The Spice Cumin Taste Like?

Cumin has a fragrant nature with a powerful, nutty, citrusy taste. This spice will give your food a warm, earthy taste with a hearty, homely feel. It also has a bittersweet taste on its own. This bitter side and convincing fragrance make it a good chewing spice for many people.

(Personally, that’s not for me!)

Although cumin will have a spicy taste at first, it is not on the same level as pepper or chilies. Using cumin in your food can accentuate the sweet taste of root vegetables and enhance the savory flavor of meat—just add it to your marinade.

Honestly, you’re missing out on an entire world of flavors if you never tried cooking with cumin.

Cumin adds depth to any food it is put in, which makes it a completely fool-proof spice in your cupboard. This spice can also be used to bake AND for hot or cold beverages. 

Don’t Know Where To Start? How To Cook With Cumin

Just anyone can do cooking. There are so many videos and hands-on courses that help with cooking tips and skills. Adding cumin is sure to give your dishes a professional cherry on top, making your loved ones reach for seconds!

Some dishes you can cook using cumin:

Cumin Rice

Soak the rice of your choice in water for half an hour. At this time, heat the cumin, a blend of spices, and ghee in the pot. When the cumin becomes super fragrant, add green chili and your rice. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add 2 cups of water and salt to taste. Cook for 6 minutes until the water has evaporated.

cilantro cumin rice
Cilantro Cumin Rice

Potato Curry

potato curry with cumin and cilantro

Heat the garlic and onion in oil until they become translucent. Add your curry powder, ginger, cumin, salt, pepper, and other spices to marry into each other and reveal an aroma. Add your prepared potatoes into this mixture and any other ingredient you’d like. Enjoy with rice.

Carrot Cumin Soup

This soup is super healthy with no unhealthy fats and very easy to prepare. It will also keep you full! Simply sauté your carrots, potato, onion with oil for 5 minutes before adding 6 cups of chicken stock. Leave on heat until cooked, then blend until you form a smooth texture. Add your spices, cumin, salt, and pepper. A creamy soup, just like MasterChef.

carrot cumin soup with greek yogurt

You can even make cookies with cumin!

These flavors are combined to create a unique biscuit using black pepper, cumin, lemon zest, and white sugar. If you serve these biscuits with fruit, it will enhance the fruit’s natural sweetness.

If you serve it with strong cheese, you can experience the sweetness of the biscuit. Alone, they are the superior combination of the holy trinity of food, savory-sweet-spicy. See the recipe here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cumin taste like cilantro?

Cumin and cilantro have different flavor profiles but can be used in the same dishes. Cumin has a citrus, nutty flavor that is slightly bitter. Cilantro seeds have a lighter flavor compared to cumin, which can be described as almost floral. When these seeds are ground, they have a nutty taste.

What does black cumin taste like?

Although they are essentially the same spice, black cumin seeds are smaller, darker, and thinner. Their taste is sweeter than cumin, with lemony notes. This is richer than the usual cumin you’d find and cook with.

Can I make cumin tea?

Yes, you can!

You can use cumin’s amazing flavor to make a comforting hot beverage. Add water to a pan and let it boil. Add cumin seeds and boil on high heat for a minute. Lower the heat and let boil for 3 to 4 minutes. You can add some honey for taste. This tea helps better digestion, resulting in weight loss.

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