Cumin. It’s the 2nd most popular spice in the world after black pepper. And yet you’d have to dig to find it at the grocery store.

In the same family as parsley, dill and caraway seeds (with similar shape and look), cumin has a strong earthy flavor and smell. It adds that layer of old world essence to Mexican and Indian dishes.

When I seasoned our molcajete, I used cumin seeds to smooth out the rough surface of the Mexican mortar and pistol. While you can freshly ground your own cumin seeds, I’ll readily admit I usually don’t have time to do it. I order mine from Savory Spice, but you may have another spice shop in your neighborhood where you can pick up this must-have ingredient.

Try adding it to chili, barbecue sauces, soups, meat rubs, and anywhere else you might reach for chili powder.

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