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Sunday, June 27, 2010

CUMIN SEEDS HISTORY AND USES, HOW TO MAKE RAITA

CUMIN SEEDS
We know that these have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and were used in cooking and in medicine. The Egyptians buried them with their pharaohs, as they believed they would be useful to them in the afterlife. Apparently cumin was once used as currency, as it was so valuable.
Pliny the Elder wrote that cumin seeds produced a pallid complexion if smoked and as students in ancient Rome believed that scholars should look pale, after all those hours of study in a library, they probably took his advice. Other sources say that if you drink the essential oil of cumin seeds, this will also produce a very pale complexion
Cumin plant
The ancient Greeks weren’t worried about having pale complexions; they kept cumin on the table and used it as a condiment, as it is still used today in Morocco.
In the Middle Ages it was believed that cumin would stop people and animals from straying, so soldiers going off to battle would be given a loaf of cumin bread by their wives and sweethearts. It was reported that if you feed pigeons or hens with it they wouldn’t go far from home.
In Ancient Rome, it became a symbol of greed and miserliness, and people were given nicknames with ‘cumin’ in them. We know that the Celts baked fish with cumin in the first century A.D. In the Middle Ages, people smeared it over peacocks and hens before cooking them, and it was then a symbol of love and fidelity, taken to weddings.
It has been used to energize the body, and is rich in iron, and it is an anti-oxidant. There are many claims for this little seeds, including that it can protect us from stomach cancers. Whatever the case we use it almost every day, as we love its flavour and the punch it packs when added to food. Try one of our salad recipes to check this out.
We have also found that it helps when we have coughs and colds, mixed with honey and water and drunk hot. However, I think we are addicted to the taste.
It came from Iran and the Eastern Mediterranean originally, and is now used throughout the world.
In Pakistan the following mixture is used to stop a small child wetting the bed. You give 3 gr in the morning and 3 gr in the evening; if you have a bedwetting child, here’s the mixture. 12 gr each of caraway seed, thyme, and cumin seeds; grind them to a powder and mix in 24 gr of sugar cane sugar. (We guess other sugar would be ok.)
Here we have given a Treat(ment), and one recipe.


RAITA
Ingredients
250 gr natural yoghurt
1 medium-sized onion
1 cucumber
1 tomato, chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
½ handful fresh coriander leaves, shredded finely
½ handful mint leaves shredded finely
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Method
Rub onion and cucumber with salt and leave them for 2-3 mins, then wash them thoroughly. Put yoghurt and cumin in a small bowl and mix well. Grate the cucumber and finely chop the onion and put all the ingredients into the bowl with the yoghurt and cumin. Add ½ cup water, stir well and leave for 15 mins or until the cumin seeds become soft.
Serve with a Chicken or Lamb Biryani.(See our recipe for Chicken Biryani)
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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