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Oaktown Spice Shop
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We love whole cumin seeds for their earthy, warm aromatics.

Cumin is an extremely versatile spice, used in many of the world’s cuisines. While the spice is a native to North Africa and the Middle East, it has been adopted across the globe, central to many Mexican, Indian, Portuguese, and Spanish recipes.

Like nuts and seeds, buying cumin in its whole form is the best way to keep the aroma and flavor compounds preserved. To draw out the aromatics, you’ll want to toast them in a pan or n the oven or bloom them in oil (keep a very close eye on them; they only need a short time to release its flavor).

1.8 oz (1/2 cup jar)
Ingredients: Cumin seeds.


Cumin seeds may not be on the Ottolenghi “essentials” ingredients list, but this earthy spice is one of the most used ingredients in the book. Use it to spice up everything from Fish Cake Tacos with Mango, Lime, and Cumin Yogurt to (p. 254) to Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese (p. 92).

Melissa Clark uses cumin seeds frequently in her recipes. Use them in the Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Lamb (p. 78) or the Carrot Muhammara with Toasted Cumin and Walnuts (p. 355). These two recipes make use of both whole and ground cumin, offering a double dose of the earthy spice with the crunchy texture of the whole cumin seeds.

Turshen will walk you through toasting a medley of spices (including cumin seeds) in her recipe for Curried Red Lentils with Coconut Milk (p. 136). The seeds are also used in Pseudo-Indian Eggplant Dip (p. 123) and Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt (p. 164).

Nik Sharma taps into the earthy flavor of cumin seeds to add warmth and smokiness to his Toasted Cumin Lemonade (p. 227) and an aromatic “smoky perfume” to the Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad (p. 59).