Whole cumin seeds on a white surface

Cumin

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This warm, aromatic spice comes as either white or black seeds. Read our top tips for cooking with cumin, including how to dry-fry to bring out the flavour.

An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediterranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm, flavoursome and slightly bitter spice derives from the seed of the Cumin plant and is traditionally added to curries, Mexican dishes and Moroccan lamb dishes.

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White cumin seeds are the most commonly available variety; black cumin seeds are slightly smaller and sweeter in flavour.

Read our guide on the health benefits of cumin.

Availability

Cumin is widely available, all year round.

Prepare it

Dry-frying cumin before grinding it brings out its flavour and softens its very spicy punch. Heat a frying pan, do not add oil, and add cumin seeds and toss until they expel a warm, rich aroma. Leave seeds to cool slightly, then grind and add to curry mixtures, soups and stews.

Store it

In a cool, dark area.

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Alternatives

Try ground coriander.