Cumin is a spice with a strong, slightly sweet smell and a slightly bitter taste. It is a frequent ingredient in spicy food, particularly from the Indian, Middle Eastern and Central American cuisine. It goes well with rice, lamb, beef and chicken and as an ingredient in soups and vegetable dishes, e.g., falafel, shawarma, kebab and chili con carne.
Cumin is also used in chutneys and pickles, and it is one of the many spices in most curry powders and in the Indian spice mix garam marsala and in most chili mixes.
Do not confuse cumin with caraway. The seeds resemble each other, but they taste very different, and they are used for different purposes. Cumin is available as whole seeds and in powder. You obtain a delicious, slightly nutty taste if whole seeds are roasted on a dry pan and ground in a spice mill.