Cumin seeds form an important part of various spice mixtures such as Panch Phoron (from Bengal), Garam masala and Sambhar Masala (used in its powdered form) etc. It is fried in heated oil before other ingredients are added when making curries or dry vegetables.
Cumin has a strong, fresh aroma. It can be dry roasted on a hot pan, cooled, powdered and stored in an airtight container. This fresh powder is added while preparing yogurt or raita and drinks such as panna (normally had with golgappas) and lemonade. Cumin has antiseptic properties and strengthens the stomach. ‘Jira’ in fact means ‘that which helps digestion’.
Simple home remedies
1. In South India, especially Kerala, jeera water is taken on a regular basis as it is considered good for the stomach and immunity. It is prepared by boiling 1L water and adding 1-2 tsp of cumin seeds to it. This is covered and kept aside for 30 minutes. It is strained and had through the day in place of normal water.
2. Jeera kashayam is another similar South Indian home remedy for flatulence. 2-3 tbsps of cumin seeds are dry roasted in a pan till they start changing colour slightly and release their aroma. Then 2 cups of water are added and boiled till it is reduced to half. Strain this and have it 2-3 times. A little water can be added to dilute it, if necessary.
Read more about Jeera here.
Jeera Rice Recipe:
Try this simple and quick recipe for Jeera (Cumin) rice. It is deliciously aromatic and goes well with every main dish.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
- One glass rice
- 2 Tbsp Cumin
- 3 Green Cardamom
- 2 Black Cardamom
- 1 Tbsp Vinegar
- 1-1.5 tsp Salt
- 3 glasses water
- A pinch of yellow food color
- 1 table spoon butter or 2 table spoon oil (optional)
- 1-2 Green Chilies
1) Soak Punjab Basmati rice for 30 minutes in cold water.
2) Boil water in a pot with cumin, vinegar, salt and green & black cardamom.
3) Pour soaked rice in boiling water and let it cook for 10 minutes without a lid.
4) Remove rice from stove and drain all water.
5) If required, spot the rice with butter and sprinkle the food color.
6) Return the rice to the stove, cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
7) When done, fluff up the rice with a spoon or fork, sprinkle the chilies on top and serve hot.