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Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)

Cumin has a very distinctive strong flavour with an aromatic powerful aroma. It can be used as the whole seed or more commonly used as a ground powder. Cumin is probably the second most popular spice used. Number one is black pepper.

This spice is so popular it is used in many different delicious foods across the world. It is used a lot in Indian cuisine as it is also an ingredient in curry powder. It is also used a lot in Mexican cooking making delicious chilli con carne, classic Mexican stews and other delicious dishes. This spice is normally associated with cooking spicy food.

Medicinal & Nutritional Benefits

Aids digestion- This spice contains thymol and essential oils and these promote digestion by stimulating the salivary gland which in turn eases the digestion.

Cancer prevention- According to studies they show this spice possessing detoxifying and chemopreventive properties. These have shown they can aid in the prevention of growth in tumours.

Cholesterol levels- Due to its hypolipidomic properties, this spice helps in controlling high levels of cholesterol, which in turn also aids in weight loss.

Vitamins- A, B6, C, E, K, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin.

Minerals- Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, potassium, Sodium, Copper, Zinc.

Cumin Cooking Tips

This spice has such diversity to it that it can be used in so many different ways. It can be blended with other spices to create a delicious rub for meats. It also goes really well with vegetables and is delicious with roasted vegetables or simply used in a soup. It is commonly found in chilli sauces giving depth and flavour.

Mexican cuisine, for me, is where I think cumin has a distinctive place. I think that a chilli, burrito and a taco would not taste the same without it. 

I really enjoy cooking fiery Mexican potatoes. It has some great spices, including cumin, to give a delicious spicy flavour. Accompany this with some fried chicken and a lovely fresh salad. Yummy!

Fiery Mexican Potatoes


Serves 4-6 people


1 Kg peeled white potatoes, cut these into 1 inch portions

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoons of chilli powder

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 cup of honey

1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of chilli powder (for honey glaze)

1 small bunch fresh cilantro 


First pre heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius, 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Use a large mixing bowl and add the potatoes, olive oil, cumin powder, chilli powder (one and half teaspoons) and the salt. Give this a good stir making sure the potatoes are evenly coated with the spices.

Now grab a roasting tray and pour the contents of the bowl into it, using all the oil that is left in the bowl as this helps the cooking and prevents the potatoes sticking.

Place into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes  remove the roasting tray and turn the potatoes.If they are sticking then add a little more olive oil.

Now place back into the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Whilst this is going on it is time to make a honey glaze. You need another mixing bowl and add the honey, lime juice, cinnamon powder and the chilli powder. Then using a whisk give it a good mix until fully blended.

Remove the potatoes from the oven again and brush the honey glaze over the potatoes using all the liquid.

Place back in the oven and bake again for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Put the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.