A spice many people immediately associate with Indian curries, cumin is also an essential flavour in areas as diverse as Mexico and North Africa. Toasting the seeds intensifies the powerful and earthy flavour and brings out a nutty character in cumin.
Fry in oil then add dry rice, coat in the oil then cook as normal for authentic jeera rice to accompany a curry. Ground cumin seeds are also a suprisingly useful ingredient in a Mexican-style chilli con carne.
Cumin is used in a chilled Indian soft drink, sometimes with tamarind water and also in the caraway-flavoured German spirit kummel.