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Other Names

Cuminum cyminum

French: cumin

Other names:
kamoun in arab countries
jeera in several parts of India


Cumin is well-known and often used to give flavour to many meals... But beware of mistakes! The spice called cumin in Western countries is in fact often carvi, a very similar seed. So how can the two be differenciated? First, the location will enable you to make a first guess: cumin grows in Asia and in North-African countries whereas carvi comes from Eastern Europe countries, especially the Netherlands. Then, the colour is slightly different, for carvi seeds are darker than cumin ones; and if you look at it very closely, you will notice small hairs on cumin seeds. What's more, only the seeds of the cumin are cooked, but seeds, leaf stalks and roots of carvi are used. But in most of cases, just tasting the spice will be sufficient : cumin taste is much stronger and enhances the meals, it gives asian and north-african meals their specific smell, but carvi is sweeter and it adds an anis taste to ingredients it accompanies: for instance, Dutch gouda is often perfumed with carvi (but we call it cumin... hence the confusions).




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