SPICE ADVICE: DHANA JEERA
Name a better duo. We’ll wait. A staple in many Indian dishes, Dhana Jeera
combines the bitter, warm flavors of cumin with the light, sweet, and citrusy flavors of coriander. When, exactly, these two spices got together is hard to pin down, but we do know the blend originated somewhere, sometime, in India. Since the blend‘s origin story is fairly elusive, let’s break down its two star-ingredients: Coriander and Cumin.
Dhana is the Hindi word for the coriander plant and it’s seeds. What many don’t realize is that this plant also grows the green, lemony leaves we call cilantro (sometimes referred to as Mexican parsley or coriander leaves). And yes, we know there’s a big ol’ debate on what cilantro tastes like: wonderfully citrusy & fresh to some — strangely metallic & soapy to others. This depends solely on our genetic make-up. But coriander seeds and cilantro (fresh coriander) have very different, distinctive flavor profiles. You may find that while you’ve sworn off cilantro altogether, coriander seed might be a thing your tastebuds can 100% get behind.
We carry two varieties of this “controversial” spice: Indian & Moroccan Coriander. Indian Coriander Seed has a green, elongated shape and is more pungent than other members of the coriander family, especially when toasted. It’s also the variety used in our Dhana Jeera blend. FYI: it’s really great for brewing tasty, aromatic beers. Coriander in its powdered form, also known as Dhana powder, is a tawny, ground spice with a wonderfully citrusy and minty flavour.
Like coriander, cumin (which translates to Jeera in Hindi) is both herb and spice. BUT, unlike coriander leaves (a.k.a. cilantro), cumin leaves won’t add much to your dish — this might sound harsh, but they’re basically not worth your time. It’s all about the seeds baby! Cumin seeds are found within the dried fruit of the flowering plant Cuminum cyminum — a member of the parsley family. They're thin, yellowish-brown, and shaped like an elongated oval. Appearance-wise, cumin seeds are often mistaken for caraway, but the similarities end there. Sorry not sorry, caraway — cumin is WAY more powerful in smell and flavour.
Its nutty, warm, smoky flavour and bittersweet notes are a staple in traditional dishes like curries, stews, soups, and chutneys in many Latin, Middle Eastern, and Indian recipes. We source our Cumin Seeds from India, then roast and grind those adorable little seeds into a fresh aromatic powder. We use it in TONS of our house-made blends, like our Dhana Jeera! Plus it pairs perfectly with the fresh, vibrant sweetness of coriander.
Cumin and Coriander can each hold their own, but some things are just meant to be. Dhana Jeera is a go-to in curries and lentil dishes, but you should also try it out in dressings and marinades for an added rich flavor. Looking for more Dhana Jeera inspo? Check out these recipes: Pav Bhaji
, Baingan Bharta
, and Masala Potatoes