- In Depth
Name: Cumin, Spiskummin, Cuminum cyminum
Origin: Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China
Weight: 100 g
Character: Complex musky, aromatic, nutty, pungent, fragrant, umami
Pair with: Lamb, oven roasted vegetables, Sichuanpepper, lentils, aubergine, beetroot, hummus, beef rendang, mexican mole, yogurt, avocado, duck, carrot
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Some people just love Cumin and we are just those people. The ancient greek used it as a table spice, much like we use black pepper today, and we can see why. It is such an enhancer of deep taste. The musky, nutty almost umami like flavor goes well to many things and should be used to much more than we think. The trick, like always, is balancing. It can easily take over a dish or spice blend, especially this variety from XinJiang.
First the obvious uses – meatballs, kebabs, bbq. They just marry! Then we have oven roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower or other vegetables. Really gives an extra richness of flavor. Lentil stews, yogurt dips and hummus are other favorites. Widely used as part of spice blends like garam masala, ras el hanout or "tex-mex" varieties.
Other less known uses are scrambled eggs, avocado toasts, fried herring and duck confit.
Release the flavors: Cumin loves to be toasted so always roast your cumin to bring out the essential oils and enhance the flavor depth.
Cumin is a herbaceous annual plant part of the parsley family and native to the Nile valley and eastern Mediterranean. Today it is cultivated across the globe and plays a prominent role in many of the worlds largest cuisines. It is used both whole and ground. As a powder it is featured in many spice blends.
In China cumin is strongly linked with the Uyghur cuisine that has gained massive popularity with its incredibly delicious lamb and skewered bbq. From Xinjiang province, cumin spread to other regions of China like Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi as well as Beijing, Inner Mongolia and Dongbei in the north. It is now a staple in their regional cuisines with hand pulled lamb noodles being one of our absolute favorites. It is one of those tastes that is really mashing Chinese cuisine together and shows how versatile this spice is.
Our cumin is grown the far western region of China in XinJiang. The growing conditions in the hills around the Tarim Basin are ideal for the draught tolerant cumin plant and has been an important cash crop for the Uyghur population over centuries. This XinJiang cumin is incredibly fragrant and musky with an aroma that fills your senses.