Country of Origin: Syria
Cumin is the seed of an annual herbaceous plant, Cuminum cyminum, member of the parsley family which is native to Egypt. It has been cultivated since ancient times in the regions of Eastern Mediterranean. References show that cumin was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Cumin was introduced to Latin America by the Spanish explorers.
Cumin has a warm, earthy aroma but at the same time, strong and penetrating. Its taste is both sweet and bitter with mild spicy notes.
Nowadays cumin is found in various cuisines. It is an essential seasoning for Moroccan couscous, for Turkish meatballs and Greek ''sountzoukakia'', for Portuguese sausages and for merguez sausages from Northwest Africa. Cumin is found in Persian ''advieh'' which is a spice blend used in Iranian recipes to season chicken and rice dishes. It can also be found in various spice blends such as baharat, berbere, garam masala, curry and chili powders. Cumin can also be used as a seasoning to enhance recipes with chicken and lamb, soups with lentils and beans, and also oven-baked or grilled eggplants and potatoes.
Cumin seeds combine best with greek oregano, greek thyme, ground turmeric, saffron, cassia cinnamon, anise seeds, Cloves, coriander seeds, nutmeg, sweet paprika and cardamom.