- Cumin seeds are elongated, oval and long. They range from sage-green to tobacco-brown in colour and have longitudinal ridges. Another variety of cumin is black cumin (‘kala jeera’, ‘shahi jeera’ or ‘siya jeera’): the seeds are dark brown to black and are smaller and finer than cumin.
- The smell of cumin is distinctive; it can be described as strong and bitter and is usually loved or hated.
- Cumin has a warm, somewhat bitter taste.
- It is available whole as seeds, or crushed to a powder, which is often blended with ground coriander to form a widely used mixture called ‘dhana-jeera’. This combination is one of the essential spice blends used in Indian cookery. Toasted cumin powder gives a lift to many curries and yogurt-based raitas.
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