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JUDY'S TABLE: APRIL 2008

Cumin: A nice surprise.

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(April 27, 2008)—Ever since making albondigas—the Mexican meatball soup—for my first time, I've been amazed by how many different ways you can use cumin.

Afterall, I had mostly associated cumin with Far or Middle Eastern cuisine and had no idea how important it is in various Latino dishes. Ground cumin is usually a darker brown, grainy powder whereas cumin powder is more golden.

Both offer a kick and are born from a flowering plant that stems from the east Mediterranean to East India region. It's what gives hummus it's kick and adds an instant flair of Far Eastern, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern when added to any dish.

There's also a connection between cumin and foods of my culture (Guam). As posted in Wikipedia, "is a critical ingredient of chili powder, and is found in achiote blends," which give Spanish rice—a popular dish for Chamorros—its bright red coloring. Add cumin to your pico de gallo, guacamole or any creamy avocado dip to create a flavorful and aromatic party dip. Then sit back and let your taste buds savor this nice suprise.

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