The Second Most Commonly Used Spice in Bolivian Cooking: Bolivian Food and Recipes

by BoliviaBella
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

Comino is a seasoning that is very commonly used in Bolivian food, especially in meat dishes. Comino (cumin, in English) is a plant that has very small seeds. Cumin (the scientific name of which is Cuminum cyminum) is a member of the same plant family as parsley, caraway and dill. Sometimes the cumin seeds are used whole, but most Bolivian recipes use ground cumin, a light powder that is easy to sprinkle into or onto anything one is cooking. You can scroll through the photos above to see comino in its various stages: as a live plant, as whole seeds, and as a ground seasoning.

Comino, especially once it has been ground, is very aromatic and has a strong, earthy flavor. Bolivian foods are usually seasoned with a mixture of comino and other herbs and spices. In fact, it is probably the most commonly used spice in Bolivian cooking, after salt and pepper. Bolivia is known for its very flavorful traditional foods, and many different herbs and spices are used, but comino is almost always one of the base ingredients on top of which others are added.

Comino has numerous phytochemicals that are considered antioxidants as well as vitamins A, E, B, and C, and healthy amounts of minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, potassium and manganese. Using comino in your recipes is a good way to add nutritional elements to your food without adding calories.

Cumin is known around the world and has been used in cooking for thousands of years. It is primarily produced in India, Mexico and the Middle East. Use it, along with other spices, to create flavorful seasonings and rubs for grilled meat; blend into sauces, marinades, stews and curries; or mix it into savory batters and breads. The following are a few examples of delicious Bolivian recipes that use comino. Give them a try!

Fricasé (a spicy pork stew with potatoes)

Lechón (traditional Christmas pork roast)

Picante de Pollo (cooked chicken in seasoned sauce)

Pan-fried rainbow trout (a Lake Titicaca delicacy)

Beef and cheese empanadas (deep fried deliciousness)

Cumin seeds: By Sanjay Acharya - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Cumin flower:

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