Oriental flavors in your kitchen: Zira - seasoning kings
Today, zira is a seasoning very popular in the countries of the Middle East and Asia. Even in ancient times, the Greeks and Romans used this spice in everyday cooking, as well as in traditional medicine.Zira has many names: Indian cumin, Zara, Kammun, Cumin, Gira. With the growing popularity of Eastern cooking in the recipes of many national dishes this spice is found. What kind of seasoning zira, the use and features of its use in areas of daily life such as cooking, cosmetology and traditional medicine - all this is described in our article.
For zira biologists, an annual or biennial herbaceous plant with alternate, strongly dissected leaves. The flowers are red or white, wrapped in wrappers and gathered in double umbrellas. Like the most common dill, zira belongs to the umbrella family. Here are just her seeds more fragrant, larger and lighter. They have a pleasant velvety nutty aroma, which increases after heating.If you leave small grains on the plant, they fall off as they dry. Because of this, they are harvested in an immature condition and only then completely dried. Outwardly, the seeds of spicy seeds are similar to ordinary cumin, but they are completely different in taste and quality of the spice. This plant is grown in the countries of the Mediterranean, Latin America, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Syria, Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan.
In botanical science there are four types of it:
Seasoning cumin (zira) for culinary purposes is used only Persian and Kirman. It is easy to distinguish them among themselves without even knowing their names: the black Kierman Zira (Cuminum nigrum), with a bright and expressive spicy, slightly bitter aroma. In Persian cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seeds are yellowish in color, and the flavor is less pronounced. The most rare is the type of black zeera grown in Tajikistan, called Bunium.
How does she look?
Zira is a seasoning that is usually sold in the form of pre-packed grayish-green small oblong seeds with pointed tips.All varieties of this seasoning are similar in smell and taste. The only exception is the rather rare type of mountain black spawn, cultivated in Afghanistan and India, having a very tender, slightly “smoked” flavor.
In modern oriental cooking, zira is a seasoning almost indispensable and most often used. In combination with coriander, turmeric, and many other spices, it serves as the basis for a variety of Indian blends, such as garam masala and sambar go and sauces.Zira is used in the preparation of Armenian sudzhuk and Uzbek shurpa, Greek stefato and Israeli hummus, canarian moh picon and moh verde sauces. In Mexican cuisine, zira is used in the preparation of thick beef stew with chili peppers, beans and beans - chili con carne, as well as in marinating meat for such a popular dish as tacos. Zira (kumin), in European cooking is rarely used, as a rule, for flavoring cheeses and bread. Knowing what constitutes a cumin (seasoning), how to replace it in the process of cooking oriental dishes, many cooks think.Tried a mixture of coriander and chili pepper, added cumin. However, Zira has such a peculiar and original taste that it is better not to replace it with anything.
Use in traditional medicine
Besides the fact that zira is a seasoning, the beneficial properties of the plant allow it to be used as a remedy for various ailments and painful conditions:
- A mixture of honey and cumin grains is used to improve brain activity and memory, as well as restore vision.
- Even a small amount of seed of spirits, added during the cooking process, helps digestion and prevents bloating and nausea.
- Helps pregnant women cope with manifestations of toxicosis, and in nursing mothers increases the amount of breast milk.
- Compounds with Zira is used to cleanse the body of various toxins, as well as for faster healing of wounds.
- Infusions on the seeds of this seasoning have a mild diuretic and laxative effect, but for optimal effect, it is better to mix zira with fennel and coriander seeds.
- Until now, Greek parents use a weak decoction of jeera for problems with the stomach in young children.
Despite the many positive properties, it is impossible to use zira and preparations based on it for people with such diseases as gastritis and duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers.
Kumin for face and body beauty
As already mentioned, Zira is a seasoning and mild remedy from the arsenal of traditional medicine. In addition, you can use the essential oil obtained from it to maintain beauty and health, as it has the following properties:
- cleans and tones the skin;
- has an antioxidant effect;
- deodorizes and eliminates stagnation.
All this allows the use of Zira essential oil in home cosmetology as follows:
- for cleansing and whitening of the skin of the face and neck;
- for daily care of inflamed or problem skin with atopic dermatitis and allergic inflammations;
- to combat cellulite;
- when treating dandruff and to enhance hair growth.
Like other seasonings, zira contributes to increased appetite, but it can also be used to combat obesity.