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Cumin is popular in Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines. According to ayurveda, it is balancing for all three doshas. It is supposed to aid digestion and help flush toxins out of the body.

Cumin can be used either as whole seeds or ground, raw or dry-roasted. Ground raw, it is a dull brown color, which is enriched by being sautéed in ghee or oil. Powdered dry-roasted cumin is a rich brown in color. Both sautéing and roasting make the aroma and flavor of cumin come alive. Cumin combines well with a wide range of other spices, including turmeric, ground fennel, ground coriander, ground dry ginger and cinnamon.

Sprinkle ground, dry-roasted cumin on fresh yogurt, add salt to taste, and enjoy at lunch. Or blend yogurt, water (50-50) with ground, dry-roasted cumin and salt to taste for a refreshing lunchtime drink. Called lassi in India, this drink is excellent for digestion. This form of cumin can also be combined with some minced ginger, lemon juice, salt and black pepper to make a dressing for a warm salad of cooked white beans or lightly-steamed shredded carrots. Whole cumin seeds, sautéed in ghee, make a flavorful addition to lentil and legume soups. Wholesome and nutritious, these soups can be meals in themselves.

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