Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cumin seeds and a simple digestive aid.

When I first started cooking, I never gave any thought to why particular ingredients were used in any recipe. If you had asked me, the most I might have guessed was flavor. But now I realize that so many of the ingredients used in traditional recipes offer so much more than just flavor to food. Take cumin seeds for example, I am sure you already know that cumin seeds are widely used in various types of cuisines from around the world. But did you know that these little seeds have a lot more to offer than just taste and flavor to food.

Cumin seeds have been found to be a great source of iron, and research shows that it has anti cancer properties too. Traditionally cumin seeds have always been recognized as an aid to digestion and recent research has shown that this is because cumin seeds stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes. Pancreatic enzymes are compounds that are necessary for digestion and nutrient assimilation


I was surprised to know that cumin seeds are a good source of iron and have anti cancer properties. On the other hand, the part about cumin being a digestive aid does not surprise me at all. It has always been common wisdom in our home that cumin seeds are a great aid to digestion. My mother used to make jeera rasam whenever any of us were not feeling too well, because it was good for digestion. Jeera rasam is a light soup like dish made with tamarind and spices like cumin (I haven't posted the recipe for this yet, but plan to do so in the future)

In addition to jeera rasam, my mother in law also makes jeera/cumin water regularly. Especially when we have been traveling a lot, or when occasions like weddings or festivals come up or we have elderly visitors. This quick and effective remedy has now become part of some of the simple home remedies that I have come to depend on.......


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Ingredients and Method to make Jeera/Cumin water
2 cups filtered/drinking water
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 pinches of  Carom seeds (ajwain/omam) (optional but recommended)
1/4 tsp ground ginger powder (sukku) (optional but recommended)

Bring the filtered water to a boil, add cumin seeds, carom seeds and ginger powder to it.
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Let it simmer for a minute or two. Remove from heat, cool to lukewarm. Strain and drink the water warm.

This can be had anytime of the day. This quantity serves 2 to 3 .

Reference links : WHFoods
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