Cumin helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. Its seeds, in ground form, are used in the cuisines of many different cultures. Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper.
Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, northern Mexican cuisines, central Asian Uzbek cuisine, and the western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Texan or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.
Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine.