These little seeds have a strong, earthy flavor that’s essential to Latin, Indian, and some Middle Eastern cooking. Besides using them in recipes, try sprinkling freshly toasted seeds as a lovely garnish on black bean, carrot, or squash soup.
Cumin, with its potent, unique flavor, is a crucial ingredient in cuisines in several parts of the world. It is essential in Indian curries, and is commonly roasted before being ground to give it a lovely nutty, toasted taste. The somewhat bitter, earthy flavor is crucial to good chili. Nearly all Mexican bean and meat recipes call for generous amounts of cumin (called “comino” in Mexican recipes), as do foods of various other Latin American countries. Swiss and Dutch cheese makers use whole cumin seed to flavor some cheeses, and several European countries use it to flavor their breads.