To make the best of their aroma and flavor whole cumin seeds are lightly roasted before use.
At home it is used to flavor soups and stew. Cumin seed is an essential ingredient of curry powder and chili powder.
In Moroccan cooking, it is used with chicken and goat. A popular marinade called chermoula is essential a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, cumin and an ever changing list of herbs and spices.
Cumin is also commonly an ingredient in the Ethiopian seasoning paste called beriberi.
This spice should be used with restraint as it can surpass all the other flavor in a dish. Cumin seed contains about 2-4% of volatile oil. The principle flavoring constituent of the oil is cumaldehyde.