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Cuminum cyminum
Cuminum cyminum
Did you know that… ?
  1. …cumin seeds are lighter in color, larger, more aromatic and have a completely different taste from caraway?
  2. …cumin seeds are an ingredient in African tagine and cuscus, in Spain it is mixed with cinnamon and in Arabic countries with coriander, turmeric and cardamom?
  3. …chewing dried cumin seed cleans breath even after eating strongly garlicky foods?
  4. …cumin is an essential ingredient in curry and all east Asian cuisines?
  5. …cumin oil is still used today as an ingredient in heavy oriental perfumes?
  6. …In Germany a bride and groom both carry a small amount of cumin into the marriage as a symbol of their marital fidelity?
  7. …cumin as a spice is dried or ground seeds of the herb Cuminum cyminum?
Cumin seeds

Pilaf with peas

1,5 dl cream
pinch turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground clove
pinch salt
4 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground coriander
400 g green peas
400 g rice
6 – 7 dl water

Mix turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and salt into cream. Heat oil in a pan, sauté ginger, cumin and coriander. Mix in rinsed rice and cook while stirring constantly. Add water, bring to slow boil and cook slowly. After ten minutes add peas (if using canned peas, add only when rice is finished cooking). Softened rice with peas are drenched in cream and simmered for an additional 10 minutes over medium heat. Served as a vegetarian dish, or embellished with hard-boiled egg slices.


From antiquity, cumin has been cultivated in India, Egypt, Arabia and the Mediterranean, originally coming from the Far East. It has been found in graves of mummies from ancient Egypt, where it was considered a medicinal herb. In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah mentions planting cumin in fields. In the Babylonian Talmud, Raw Huna gives recipes for preparing medicine with cumin. The Romans used it instead of pepper and spread it as a paste on bread. The Roman scholar Pliny writes that his students used it induce paleness, to try to make him believe that they were overworked. This same trick was used by the Roman C. Julius Vinder. Pale as a ghost, he went to the Roman emperor Nero and promised to make him his heir, if Nero would grant him authority over Gaul. The greedy emperor immediately did so, eagerly anticipating Vinder's death, who, however, was healthy as a horse.